Feild Academy Blog

The day started with a delicious breakfast, which for me consisted of lots of chicken. The day quickly progressed into sickness as well as lots of fun. While some of the people were sick and in the hospital the rest of us took a tour around the volcano. We stopped at many locations around the volcano. Each stop was something different: including viewing points of the volcano spewing out lots ash. After the viewing point we stopped at a shrine. We learned that the gate in the shrine represents the passing into the spirit world. So on one side of the gate is our world and on the other is the spirit world. In my opinion the most exciting stop was at the black sand beach. We dug for water and created our own hot springs. While everyone were playing in the hot spring a little group of people, including me, started to climb the rocks for a better view of the island. After having a fun day at the island we took a ferry ride back Kagoshima. We checked in at got our bags quickly unpacked. The next stop on our journey through Japan was a museum focused on the environment and the problems with the environment. This stop truly help my group, which is focused on the environment. After the museum we moved to a shopping center were we had to gather information from local people by interviewing them. My group and I gather a few interviews with local people at could speed english. We were able to get the people to answer the question in English as well as in Japanese, which was incredibly helpful. We then went back to the area where our hotel is located and went to diner in our groups. My group and I went to an Indian restaurant. I like an idiot desisded to order the hottest dish. When I got it I relied too hat it was not hot at all and it was just right. After dinner we went to an arcade and played Mario cart. I ended my day do laundry and watch in a movie.


From Fukuoka to Sakurajima

Miguel, Israa, Cole, and Emily

Waking up in our hotel, we revisited the oyster beds, where our lunch came from the day prior. 8 meters deep in the water, were submerged ropes with scallop shells tied to them. On these baby oysters were planted to develop to full size over the corse of the next few months. The oyster beds consist of long logs that run parallel to one another where the ropes are tied(it was fun to run around on top of them).

After leaving the docks, we drove to an elementary school where we met kids from grades 3 to 6. Divided into pairs we went into different classes and were able to enjoy their company as much as they probably did. We saw their work on multiple subjects, some had math and music while others did origami and played football (soccer) outside. All of the children were impressed with our height as well as our different ways of opening milk cartons. All of them were incredibly excited to see us and peered into the hallways as we entered the building. Most of the children are conscious of the environment that they live in as they eat all of their food without wasting anything. The part of the experience that was most amazing was how a group of students take shifts in preparing as well as serving the food. When it is time for lunch they all put on white aprons and hats to serve the food to one another. As we left the school all of the children crowded around the bus waving goodbye.


We all then took the train back to the Japan Railroad, taking the bullet train to Kagoshima. There me met Mami sensei’s mom and took a beautiful ferry ride to the volcano island of Sakurajima. Here we had a delicious meal, full of vegetables, fish, soup, and amazing deserts given by Mami’s mom.

And as many of us rush off to the hot springs at carefully timed points with friends, our groups continue to prepare ourselves for the coming days.DSC00424 DSC00418 IMG_0492 IMG_0486 IMG_0504

Scavenger Hunt Group Cherry Blossom

Miguel, Israa, Cole, and Emily
After getting to know some of Okayama’s tourist destinations, we were told to find the way back to the hotel while completing a series of tasks and challenges. Some of these tasks included asking random people their age and then taking a photo with them. We also had to translate characters in order to find certain objects in a convenience store. However the most challenging part of the scavenger hunt was to communicate with younger children so that they could understand our accent.
Some of the people that we encountered were very curious as to what we were doing. One even came and found us later on and wanted to learn an English phrase after she had thought us one in Japanese. However, while walking in Kimonos around Kurashiki one of the people we took a photo with requested that we delete it. It took us a while to understand what she was asking, but eventually we figured it out and deleted the picture as she requested. Another person we encountered was embarrassed and refused to reveal her age. We understood and thanked her anyway. For the most part everyone we talked to was excited. As a group we all enjoyed the scavenger hunt more than we had anticipated and managed to find everything before any one else (we are still expecting our prize)
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Night Snorkeling


Night Snorkeling in Great Lameshur Bay was amazing! We jumped off the dock with only our snorkeling gear and a light (not including the camera we shot with). When we started, our whole group was nervous because there are many needle fish, which are attracted to light. If you shine your light near them there is a good chance they will swim for it and maybe result in someone getting hurt. As we were snorkeling, I got more use to it though. When we swam around we saw mostly small fish except for the one big fish we saw which was a puffer fish. Then we turned off our lights. This was the most fascinating part because we got to witness bioluminescence, which lit up the water when we moved around. After we turned the lights back on we headed back to the dock. Going night snorkeling was a great experience that helped me and my group get over our fears of snorkeling, as well as getting to see what happens down in the darkness of the sea.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5pMgEboNJE


Day 10-Museum of SOFO and Nature Walk

Museum and walk


On Tuesday, we went to the Museum of the South Fork, which is the museum about the ecology  of the East End of Long Island. In the museum, we saw different environments for animals and plants to live in, such as the forest, farm field, old field and shrub land. There was a circumstance between those four ecology, which is the forest will turn into farm field, and if people don’t farm plants anymore, the field will become the old field. After several years, the old field will become shrub land, because the shrub grows up in the old field. Fifty years later, the shrub land will become the forest again. There are some different animals live in different ecology, like the scarlet tanager lives in the forest, the American crow lives in the farm field. In the old field, there is the mile snake, and the mocking bird lives in the shrub land. We learned about eelgrass beds as they are the surf as the nursery for the fish and scallops.




After we took a tour of the museum we went outside on a walk threw the nature preserve. During the walk we talked about the animals that arrived there, such as butterflies, which arrived at the butterfly garden during the springtime. On our walk we looked under wood boards that were put on top of the soil to see if any creatures were living under them. Under one of the boards we saw the rare blue spotted salamander. We also saw an owl house as well as a bat house. On this trip we saw many interesting creature and learned important facts on how to keep our world clean and healthy by saving the environment of different species and their homes.


— Greg

Learning about the environment

Today we learned about how humans affect the land around them. We specifically learned about how Montauk is affected by its water resources and how their community is trying to help. Montauk is made up of one aquifer which means that the water resource is limited. CCOM is a group trying to help take care of Montauk by informing the local people and Cleaning up Lake Montauk. We talked about what conditions affects the water. Conditions like run off, pesticides and waste disposal. These factors cause the water to be polluted which causes sea life like eel grass which nurtures and protects young fish.

We learned how to test water samples in different areas. We collected water from West creek, East Creek and South beach. Then we went back to perform a testing procedure. first we got fresh water and we diluted the sample water. We then vacuum sealed it and we put in an incubator to be read tomorrow. We really enjoyed learning about how our actions affect the environment and how we can help.


By Elsa Diaw






Day 9- Reef bay trail and boat ride


On day 9 we woke up as usual, tired and barely ready for the day. We ate breakfast quickly and left for the reef bay trail with our guide Debby. We left VIERS and headed down the road on a taxi until we stopped over on the side to begin the trail. This hike went through the area of the island most closely resembling a rainforest. When looking up the canopy was thick with leaves and the trees too wide for one person to encircle. We saw trees that had buttress roots to help spread the stress of the heavy trunks and trees covered in spines. Along the way we saw several different species of spider including a magnificent Golden Orb Weaver and a juvenile Antilles Pinktoe Tarantula which goes from bright blue to pink and green as it matures. On this trail we stopped at a rocky outcropping that becomes a waterfall during the wet season. There carved into the side of the waterfall we saw petroglyphs left by the Taino indians that migrated from South America. Towards the end of the trail we stopped at an abandoned sugar cane factory. This factory had also at one point been a rum production facility and sported both a steam engine and horse powered mill. We saw a 100 year old grave there of the plantation owner only around 20 feet away from the factory. After this we went over a small hill and made our way to the beach to be picked up and taken back to VIERS for lunch. We waited for a while on a beautiful white sand beach and when the boat finally arrived we were exhausted. After lunch nobody had any energy left to snorkel except Mrs.D’Agostino. We did an hour and a half of community service which included scrubbing the boardwalks of avian fecal matter which Seamus and I were tasked with. Greg and Mark helped Tony remove parasitic vines from the trees around camp and the girls raked leaves. After this we had dinner and were too tired to do anything else.













Day 8 – 3 Mile Hiking to Rams Head, Snorkeling and Kayaking

This morning, a taxi dropped us off at a trail-head leading to Salt Pond Bay where we started to head out to the trail towards Rams Head. At the beginning of the trail, it was a little steep but easy to walk on. We went through Salt Pond Bay and began hiking a new rocky terrain which led us to Blue Stone Bay. At this bay, having big blue and white rocks, we created a Ross sign with the white rocks. Afterwards, we started to walk uphill to the Rams Head point. When we got the the top of the steep rock overlook, it was really windy and we could barely stand up. We took group pictures and panoramic shots of the views. Later in the day, we went back to the first bay we crossed, The Salt Pond Bay. We snorkeled in the bay and saw different types of fish, which includes needle fish, angel fish and rainbow fish. Also, Elsa and I went Stand Up Paddle boarding and we were excited because it was our first time. At 4 pm, we went back to VIERS, and prepared to go Kayaking at Great Lameshure Bay. After, We were able to observe sea life at the outdoor wet-lab tanks that one of the college groups collected. In the tanks there were spiny arrow crabs, sea cucumber, sea urchins and the biggest hermit crab I have ever seen. Overall, we hiked 3 miles in the hot sun, we snorkeled in Salt Pond Bay, we stand up paddle boarding and kayaked in the late afternoon.

IMG_4827Salt Pond Bay and Rams Head Point

By Aina Tomas

Day 7- Medicinal Plant Walk and Snorkeling

Today started with a medicinal plant walk with the indigenous local expert Ital Anthony. He introduced to us many plants with medicinal qualities. Some plants benefit different medical issues such as the Casha Tree, which is used to help diabetes. Another tree is the “highty tighty tree”, which helped for high blood pressure and other heart problems. He also explained to us what is eatable and what is poisonous. He let us try a few fruits that came from some of the trees we saw such as the sour sop, which had white flesh inside. The sour sop was surprisingly not that sour, but was mostly sweet. He also showed us this very poisonous fruit that Ital Anthony couldn’t use his hands for to touch it, he had to use gloves. Once it got opened though there is bright red juice in the middle, which is used to make baskets.

Later in the day we went to visit two bays (Princess Bay, and Haulover Bay). In Princess Bay we snorkeled on the perimeter of the bay, where the mangroves are. In the beginning of the snorkel we found an octopus, which was hidden at the bottom of the water. After we saw the octopus, we passed by a few barracudas. Later we went to Haulover Bay, which had a great reef with many interesting creatures. The most interesting creature was an adult turtle. It wasn’t scared of us so it let us come near it. I got to witness this turtle from about three feet away. To end the day we went night snorkeling. As we started, my partner Seamus and I were nervous because we couldn’t see well, even with an underwater flashlight. As we were snorkeling we saw a few fish, including a puffer fish. After we spotted the fish, we turned off the flashlights and started to move around. We started to notice bioluminescence, which was caused by microscopic organisms moving around. Today was one of my favorite days on this trip. I hope that the rest of the days on this trip, if not better, will be just as good.

–Greg Gropper


Day 6- Marine Wet Lab, Kayaking and Singing and Dancing


Today on our adventure we did many things. It was a great day that had started with a fabulous breakfast of pancakes an sausage. After breakfast we had a little down time to rest. Then we set out to the docks to see marine life. We observed many sea creatures such as: pencil urchin, brittle stars, sea eggs, a baby lobster, and fire worms. After we were finished observing the marine life we came back to do math (the best part of the day). We calculated the costs of recycling aluminum, the amount of rain water caught off the 11 ft x 9 foot roofs that have a 32 degree pitch (Trigonometry!) and daily water consumption.   Once we finished math we had lunch. Lunch was great today we had hot dogs and mac and cheese. Once we had finished lunch we started to head back to the docks to learn about mangroves and observe mud and organisms under a microscope. Doing that was fun, but after that we want kayaking, which was the real best part of the day. Following the kayaking some other people and I went snorkeling. I had observed many fish and what appeared to be millions of guppies. When we came out of the water we had to wait about 30 min for our teachers because their kayak started to sink. That was amusing, but took away time from our day. When we all came back to camp we relaxed for an hour waiting for diner to be ready. When we heard the bell we headed over to the dining hall to eat pork, mashed potatoes, string beans, and corn. I enjoyed what we had for diner. After diner we had an unexpected activity to go to. I was a little skeptical about it at first, but had a great time. We went to learn about different plants, but also sing, dance, and play music. It was a great way to end off the day.

By Seamus McCarthy