A Beginner’s Guide to Pokémon Collection in National Parks

Pokémon Go, made available for download in America on July 6, 2016 (and adding new countries every day!) enables collection, training, and battling of the first 150 Pokémon. Individual Pokémon collection and observation is now possible, and Pokémon trainers will be venturing into their communities and the wilds that surround them in record numbers as they strive to catch ‘em all. By virtue of collecting and learning about (albeit augmented, virtual) animals, people will also rediscover their attraction to the natural world. Through Pokémon Go, trainers will develop a keen eye for their surroundings, patience for tracking, quick thinking in anticipation of Pokémon behaviors.  And what better place for young and old alike to hone their PokéSkills but the expansive wilderness of America’s greatest natural treasure, the National Park system.

The iconic U.S. National Parks have provided access to both nature and natural sciences to visitors for 100 years. Combined annual attendance to these natural wonders registers at a whopping 305 million people each year, attracting visitors from all over the world. Our National Parks span the landscape of the United States and her territories, ranging from the remote reaches of Alaska to the bustling east coast parks, like Shenandoah-a quick drive from several major cities-and hop entire oceans to appear in far pacific lands like Hawaii, American Samoa, and Guam. Sometimes, these parks pack a hefty admission fee, up to $30 in some of the most famous parks. The fees go toward necessary maintenance and upkeep of the most pristine natural environments in the country, preserving the experience for the next generation of visitors. Don’t be scared by the entry fees; reasonably priced annual passes and special free events can make access extremely affordable!  In fact, I planned a trip to Shenandoah National Park this past weekend for both my sister and me as a respite from the rigors of academia. However, once we got the news dropped of the long-awaited Pokemon Go release, our plans quickly adapted to incorporate some Pokemon collecting into our adventure.

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A quick entrance photo at the North Entrance Gate PokéGym.

Continue reading “A Beginner’s Guide to Pokémon Collection in National Parks”

Carving Out Time: #WinterWishlist Edition

Finals. To anyone still in the thick of it, YOU’VE GOT THIS GO GO GO. But, to my fellow survivors on the other side of things:

tired

I had to push past a flooded apartment, screaming baby next door while studying, and being locked out of my apartment (and away from my computer charger when I had a report due), but it’s over and I’m still alive. I know a lot of us still have other responsibilities and likely a stack of homework/exams to grade, but let’s promise ourselves right here, right now that we are going to Take A Break. For me, the last few weeks have been nonstop with projects and finals and I barely remember what it’s like to have a moment to just breathe. But, it’s so very important to carve out time for yourself because if not, everything else will take over. I am looking forward to using this break to regain some sanity and motivation going into the new year. I hereby promise to spend a good portion of my winter break treating myself to some Real Life goodies.

I understand that our collective brains are sufficiently fried so we’ve got a lovely list post for everyone.  Rachel and I have compiled our happiest of Real Life things to do during the break. I barely know where to start! We would also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to hear about your Winter Wishlists! Leave suggestions in the comments or tag us in your own post. You can keep an eye on our Instagram and Tumblr to get peeks of our #WinterWishlist fun. Continue reading “Carving Out Time: #WinterWishlist Edition”

Crawly Cuties and Apartment Composting

My apartment here in State College is quite small, but it’s still the first place I’ve lived where I can make it (along with Benjamin, of course) my (our) own. Long hours at campus mean I want to make the most of my time at home enjoying the space and using it to explore any outside interests I try to maintain throughout graduate school. We use this space to develop some of our shared interests, and this is reflected in how we attempt to arrange the living area in a way that extends our tiny, tiny nook kitchen out into the rest of the room.  We try and cook for ourselves as often as possible and we relish our weekly CSA deliveries of local produce, dairy, eggs, and bread. However, this produces a LOT of food scraps that we don’t want to end up in a landfill somewhere. I really wanted to have a compost bin somewhere outside, but we don’t have a lot of space available to use around our apartment building and I wasn’t sure how well it’d be received. An indoor possibility was on my radar for a while, but, as I’ll discuss, I had some reservations. Having a bin full of worms in one’s apartment seems like something that should be filed under “You know you live with/might be an ecologist when….”, but in my research before I found that they are way more popular than I anticipated! Continue reading “Crawly Cuties and Apartment Composting”