Exploring Texas Natural History

“This year’s spring break trip participants (23 students and leaders) departed shortly after 04:00 hours on Saturday, 10 March, heading for Texas–open to letting the weather and our discoveries dictate our wanderings. As is the goal of the PenzinerMatson trips we had a diverse group of participants.

Daylight found us in Illinois, traveling west across the flat, till landscapes left by the Pleistocene glaciers. At Effingham, we turned south and soon were approaching the unglaciated, wooded hills of southern Illinois. New birds and plants were everywhere: White-tailed Kite, Roseate Spoonbill, White Ibis, Boat-tailed Grackles, etc. We spent several hours at Sea Rim State Park that allowed us to study coastal birds including Brown Pelican, Royal, Forster’s, Common, Sandwich and Caspian Terns, Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring and Bonaparte’s Gulls, American Avocet, etc. While much of the coast back from the beachfront was flooded and plants were inundated, Blanketflowers and several other species familiar to gardeners were blooming wild and natural.”

Read the full trip synopsis →

Whatever ‘lens’ we put on, I felt we often came pretty close to certain truths throughout the trip. Perhaps the biggest truth I discovered on this trip is that Earlham students and faculty are people I will remember and treasure for the rest of my life. The compassion they displayed for others in the group and all those who crossed our paths was an example of some of the best in group dynamics. Together with everyone’s curiosity, knowledge and enthusiasm for learning about our world, I left the trip feeling so incredibly lucky I chose to call Earlham…home.



The Vicki Penziner-Matson Natural History Field Trip in Texas is just one example of the off-campus experiences available to Earlham College students.