Harry Jol, professor of geography and anthropology, and Stephanie Turner, associate professor of English, led a Domestic Intercultural Immersion to Yosemite National Park May 22-30. Fourteen students took part in the trip, including geography, English, and art and design majors. The learning objectives of the immersion experience, titled "Yosemite: Land, Art and Literature," included understanding the geology and cultural history of the park.
Students explored the park's many natural features: a moraine, waterfalls, domes, a giant Sequoia grove, and the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, which supplies 80% of San Francisco's water. They experienced a variety of landscapes on the trip outside the park, as well, such as Lake Mono, a salt water lake; California's agricultural lands; and the urban landscapes around Los Angeles and San Francisco. Students also visited a second national park, Rosie the Riveter National Park in Richmond, California, a harbor and manufacturing town where facilities were converted to make ships and other military vehicles during World War II.
Park ranger talks with the students covered such topics as search and rescue in the park, the role of the Wilderness Act in regulating park activities, and species identification. Students drew, made photographs, and wrote in their field journals throughout the trip. An exhibition of their work on campus is being planned.
For some students, this immersion was their first travel experience outside the state of Wisconsin. For most of them, it was the first opportunity they had to work with other students across disciplines. Said one student near the end of the trip, "now I know what I'm capable of."
The Domestic Intercultural Immersion grants are funded by the Blugold Commitment Differential Tuition program as part of the institutional objective to provide high-impact practices to our students. Read more about this program here.
Top photo caption: Left to right: Emilie Zahurones (geography), Elizabeth Fedewar (geography), Katelyn Haupt (English/Spanish), Jared Stone (English), and Rebecca Nowicki (English).