15 January – Cranbrooke Botanical Gardens

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My Thursday morning started out bright and early at 7:00am when I met up with my research partner, Josh, in the wet lab to record data on our brittle star experiment. Today was the first day we started testing the removal of red wavelength light in our black test tank by dying the water red with food dye. Yet I was still a bit shocked to see the black test tank that we designed to be fill with dark red water as if something has been murdered inside our tank overnight. Despite that horrific thought, I enjoyed my breakfast of cheese omelets with tasty papaya in the wet lab just like any usual lab day [Note: Not the best place to eat breakfast, but work comes first.]

For lunch, we were all really excited to be served with beef lasagna except for Raphey, who filled up his plate with the usual veggie and fruits mixed in with the cold fried fish that we had for dinner last night. Then we were all off to our trip to Cranbrooke garden, which is a botanical garden that encompasses some hiking and swimming. None of us truly have a good idea what Cranbrook garden would look like or what we will see and do. In my mind, I was thinking that it might be something similar to the Brooklyn botanical garden. Much to my surprise, we arrive at Cranbrook passing by cows and horses. Then we had to get out of the van and start walking through aisles of palm trees, which leads into a hut usually reserve for weddings. Past the hut is the main entrance to Cranbrooke garden, which much to my surprise looks nothing like a garden and more like a tropical rainforest. We passed by a section that was fill of bamboo that shoots up so high and long that it almost completely shaded us away from the burning sun.

We were fortunate enough to have a tour guide along the way to tell us about all the different plants that were surrounding us. The garden was full of exotic flowers that not only look beautiful, but also taste great. The guide told us that one of the white petal flowers tastes like sour apple and told us to try it, many of us were skeptical at first but then most of us tried it and loved the taste. We were then introduced to plants that also had different medicinal uses. There was this hot pink flower that has buds, which can be used to relieve pink eye, and there was a leaf that can help stop bleeding. Along the way, the tour guide also pointed out a cactus that can be used to make shampoo. There was also a touch sensitive plant that shivers up its leaves when touched, which many of us find really fascinating. Then the tour guide took us through a path along side the brook.

At the end of the path, there was a small lagoon of water where we can all swim in. I was really excited to get into the water without gearing up in my fins and snorkel mask. However, we were all overwhelmed by how cold the water was and by the how weird the quick sand texture at the bottom felt. All that is disregarded when we had our fun taking turns jumping off the rocks and into the pool of water. Many of us all had our unique way of making faces and movements while entering the water. [Notes: Pictures from Cranbrook should hopefully be posted in best of week two soon.]
The trip to Cranbrook garden was amazing and I think it is safe to concluded that we all had fun. I really enjoyed the hiking and swimming in the brook. It was also the first time that I’ve ever tried eating flowers and actually enjoyed it.
[Caption for bottom photo ] Picture of me holding our two test subject, the blunt spined brittle star (Ophiocoma echinata) and the banded-arm brittle star (Ophioderma appressum). Behind me is our designed black test tank.
[Caption for top photo] Group photo of us near the entrance of Cranbrooke garden by the aisles of palm trees.
-Avocado Amy

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