Where did you have class today? Inside? Oh, I guess that’s fun. I had class outside. The Black Forest and all of Baden-Württemberg is my classroom. German classes have just ended, and I feel more confident with the language. We don’t have German class for a few weeks (and I miss it already!), but our Environmental Science classes have started. The first day of class all we did was talk about trees. Trees are a perfectly fine topic—but knowing about trees and then using that knowledge in the field is something totally new. Our class met at 9am by the Hauptbahnhof (main train station), filed onto a little, private bus just for our class, and started on our way to the forest. I got to learn about trees in the middle of the Black Forest in Germany… and I get credit for this?! That’s pretty cool. We take notes, we hike, we take pictures, we hike, we look at trees, we stop by a lake for lunch; we hike. I could do this forever. The trees have started to change colors and the landscape is gorgeous to look at. (Side note: from our class excursions, we appreciate the color changes more and the different shades of different trees because a heterogeneous forest is better for forest management and more aesthetically pleasing.) I’m geeking out- there are rocks everywhere, too. Geology is one of my favourite parts of the all-encompassing EES major, and I’m always happy to stop and survey the surrounding rock scape. During our second excursion, we visited a little town in Germany, close to the French boarder. We visited this particular place to go to a large rock that had actually once been under the Rhine River, which had since dried up in this area. We stopped in town, got coffees and cake to fuel us for our hike, and set off. We climbed up to this rock face at the top of this hilly town, and entered. This rock reminded me of Pride Rock from “The Lion King”. Simba would have felt at home, although the climate is a little different from Africa. During World War II, there had been underground rock tunnels from this town that ran in many directions up to 4km for soldiers to pass through. They are closed up now, but the enterances are still visible. And years before that, a part of the rock had been converted into a shrine to the Virgin Mary. But what we focused on the parts of the rock that you could see had been smoothed over and warped from water running through it. There was so much history in this one geologic fixture; it was incredible.
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<p>Hi! My name is Isabelle McCarthy. I am currently double-majoring in Earth & Environmental Science and English at Lehigh University. Even though I'm from Brooklyn, NY and might be referred to as a "city kid", I also love the outdoors and exploring. I'm a big risk taker and am always down to do something out of my comfort zone. I am so looking forward to gaining some incredible experiences in Freiburg!</p>