Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Summer travels

I enjoyed traveling around the west this summer and scouting potential field sites. (From the top, the Laramie River in Colorado; a spot along the road in central Colorado; and the Shoshone River in northern Wyoming.) Aside from having a raccoon take my shoes into the brush overnight while camping, my trips were productive and uneventful.

One of the other nice features of summer in Laramie (apart from the beautiful weather) is the farmer's market, which takes place every Friday. There are a fair amount of farms in southeastern Wyoming and northern Colorado that make the trip to Laramie for these markets, and they provide a nice selection of produce and meat.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The first year

I recently finished my first academic year here, and things are going well. I took several courses, sent out proposals, and had my first committee meeting. More importantly, I've enjoyed the process. As I've thought over ideas and sought advice, the faculty and graduate students here have been generous with their time and opinions - and that's probably been the greatest help to me as a first year PhD student.

Friday, April 30, 2010

April snow

As Erin mentioned, it does tend to snow in Laramie in April. (And also in the other months that don't end in "uly" or "gust.") One of the benefits is a long skiing season.

I'm not an accomplished skier, but I enjoy living close to so many options. In early April, I went skiing at Monarch, just a few hours away in Colorado. Although it was the first week of April, they still had fresh snow and a base of 80".

While winters are long here, they also provide good recreation - and in April, ski slopes can be just as nice as they are in mid-winter but less crowded.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yet another peaceful feast day

February 10th marked yet another peaceful St. Scholastica Day at the University of Wyoming. Unlike the days-long riot between armed bands of scholars and townsfolk that broke out on this day many years ago in another university town, the tenth of February - like other days - was characterized more by continued tranquility between the town and the university. In fact, there's quite a bit of support and pride in the University and its teams around town; in turn, scholars here generally refrain from throwing alcoholic beverage containers at tavern-keepers while using abusive language and sparking riots. All of which is to say that town-gown relationships here are pretty nice.

Monday, February 8, 2010


I've lived in college towns with less than thriving downtowns, so it's nice to see folks in Laramie who care about keeping the downtown area thriving. In the warmer months, there's a farmer's market on Friday afternoons. Recently, downtown has seen a new bar open (which houses one of the oldest bars in the state), a new sushi restaurant open, and a new Italian restaurant is coming soon.

In addition to the mountain west location and amount of outdoors, Laramie's downtown is one of the best parts of the area. The Main Street Program is a good source for information about the downtown area and the shops found there.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


As I work on refining some ideas for my dissertation, I'm looking forward to getting some feedback from professors and fellow grad students. This Monday, I'll be giving a talk going on some of my research ideas in the Zoology and Physiology Department's informal weekly seminar.

I've enjoyed conversations with grad students in my home department and PiE at seminars and receptions, but I'm really looking forward to having a captive audience of scientists to help sharpen some of my ideas. The Monday "brown bag" series is a nice way for students, faculty, and guests to share ideas and get feedback from folks who have expertise outside your study area.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Up and running

The semester is beginning with a flurry of speakers and seminars. I enjoyed listening to Dov Sax speak about patterns of plant invasions on oceanic islands. Since part of my research involves thinking about freshwater fish invasions, this was an interesting perspective - the patterns are quite different between fish and plants.

Alexandra Rose gave a seminar on latitudinal gradients in clutch size. Again, I found myself thinking about the potential role of latitudinal gradients in my research and the comparisons among taxa.

This week, Peter Groffman is giving a seminar that I believe focuses on smaller organisms and ecosystem processes. One of the reasons I came to Wyoming was the diversity here - plants, birds, worms - which helps keep me from focusing too narrowly within my own work. The seminars are also a nice way to meet some of the dozens of PiE students who aren't in my department.