Vanessa in Taos

Vanessa is a senior majoring in biology and anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. During summer 2012, she is studying at SMU-in-Taos.

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The joy of plants

Today was another day of research and preparing my final draft of my booklet on the Mint family. Once work ended, the fun begain in the evening after dinner. My botany class went into the town plaza to hear a lecture being held at the Taos Convention Center. The topic of the lecture was to discuss the top ten plants found in New Mexico, which was definitely fitting for our class since we have been studying plants for the entire June term thus far.

It took a while for my class to find what hall the lecture was being held in, but we eventually found our way after circling around five or six times. Luckily, thanks to the guidance from Dr. Ubelaker, we left early enough to arrive on time, even after all the circling about. There were still about 20 minutes left before the lecture would officially begin, so Laura, Kim and I decided to explore some of the beautiful architecture in certain areas of the plaza. There was a bird statue, a beautiful mural next to the entrance of the hall, and even a colorful map of the entire Convention Center. Even though I have seen plenty of adobe buildings in Taos, it still amazes me how neat and modern they look.

Then, the lecture began. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the discussion, but right away it was very entertaining. The guest lecturer had a habit of laughing uncontrollably in the middle of his statements. It was hysterical! I thought it would be a little uncomfortable for Laura, Kim and I to be the only “young” people in the audience, but age definitely didn’t matter when it came to discussing plants.

Even better was how much wisdom Dr. Ubelaker contributed to the discussion. He would give his insights on the name of plants, how they looked, and what environments they happened to be found in. I would watch the faces of the other members as they would hang onto his every word, and laugh inside at how amazed they would look after Dr. Ubelaker would explain something. Almost every question was directed to him, instead of the guest speaker, although he didn’t mind. Toward the end of the discussion, a kind, elderly woman sitting in front of me remarked on how lucky we were to have him as our professor. My classmates and I thanked her and continued to enjoy the rest of the lecture.

It really was nice to see how invested other people were about learning the importance of plants and where they can be found within New Mexico. I really enjoyed myself that evening and it provided some great bonding time with my classmates. I will be returning later this week to explore more of what the Taos Plaza holds!

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