Santa Cruz Island
By Jeffrey Jacobs (05/12/09 22:18:21)
Related animal: Tadpole

Santa Cruz Island

On our recent class trip to Santa Cruz Island for a three day and two night stay, I learned that when anticipating a collaboration with animals in the wild one must be incredibly patient. Upon our arrival to the island I didnít quite know what to expect. I had heard that animals on the island were actually quite scarce, but still I kept my hopes high. I soon found that I would never be able to collaborate with any of the animals if I wandered around the island looking for them. I also discovered that since they are wild animals, their exact behavior cannot be known ahead of time, and that the best collaborations to occur in the wild would probably be those that are spontaneous. With this in mind I went off on a walk through nature by myself, being very mindful of the movements and sounds going on all around me. I walked along a trail for quite some time, without any idea of where exactly I was heading. At one point I stopped to sit in some grass to observe my surroundings. I soon found that as I stayed still, signs of animal activity were popping up all around me. By remaining very still myself, I became keen to the movements of the insects on the plants around me. I watched a dragon fly bask in the sun as it stretched its wings. I watched a large beetle scuttle across the ground and down into a hole below a rock. I even saw a lizard shoot out across a log before retuning to its recluse in the shadows. From this I learned that the best way to see animals in the wild is to actually become part of the environment, staying still and calm as possible.
I then continued my hike along my trail to the unknown until I came upon a flowing creek. I took off my shoes to cross it and as I did, I noticed that it was full of tiny tadpoles. I had not noticed the tadpoles until my shadow fell across the creek, startling them and causing them to change positions rapidly. I then realized that as I stood still in the creek and moved my arms about, the shadows that fell upon the waters caused the tadpoles to swim in various directions. It was as though I was herding them together, using my shadow as a sheepdog. Although I did see this as a small form of collaboration, I was not entirely satisfied with it. I felt as though I was too in control of the situation, after all, my conscious decisions were scaring the tadpoles into moving around. I was not exactly fond of the idea of scaring the tadpoles into collaboration and I decided to let them get back to their metamorphosis as I continued on my walk.

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