The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE science students leave classroom for West field trip

By Angel Torres/reporter

The common description of a classroom does not include being surrounded by all kinds of animals like snakes that cannot be seen in the dark or bears that linger behind trees.

It would certainly not include freezing temperatures at night or excruciating heat during the day.

In a regular classroom, students would not be in danger of heat stroke, and, without a doubt, no personal health and accident insurance would be required to attend class.

The 15-day Colorado Plateau and Southern Rocky Mountain geology minicourse is certainly not a common academic course offered in schools.

The NE Campus natural sciences department offers the opportunity for 15 students to travel on an interstate trip that will depart Saturday, May 30.

The group will return Thursday, June 18, having gained eight hours of science credit.

Organized by NE assistant professor Hayden Chasteen, the trip is open to all TCC students.

“If [students] have any kind of interest in outdoors or geology, it’s a good way to get experience in those fields,” he said.

Chasteen has organized and led the trip for seven years. His participation is reflected in the pictures and pamphlets of previous trips that cover his office walls.

Students who register for the minicourse will travel across Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

During the trip, students will study and experience firsthand the contrast in geology among the Colorado Plateau, Southern Rockies and the Grand Canyon. 

Students will have five days of classes before the trip, starting Monday, May 25.

During the sessions, they will have a general introduction to camping essentials and a lecture on the geology of the states they will visit.

Even though the trip might sound exciting and an easy way to obtain eight hours of credit in a short period of time, Chasteen said the experience also requires a lot of physical work and mental stamina to endure the hardship of the American deserts.

“If [students] can walk to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back, they will be good,” he said.

In addition to the long distances students will have to walk, some potential hazards during the trip could include sudden drops in temperatures in the deserts.

Students could also encounter hikes across boulder fields or steep rocky slopes.

Heat stroke and camp sites and hikes in bear country are other potential problems, he said.

Chasteen said he personally has never seen a bear on any of his trips, but on one occasion, eight girls got scared and hid in one small tent when a deer passed close to the camping site.

“If it was a bear, they would have made it very simple for it to have a big meal with all eight of them in one tent,” he joked.

Students are required to fill out a questionnaire where they will disclose any medical, mental or physical conditions that would impede their taking the mini-course.

Furthermore, students must obtain personal health and accident insurance before they leave on the trip.

“It’s not a vacation,” Chasteen said.

Students are expected to work every day, answer questions from the professor, listen to a morning lecture and keep a journal for the 15 days of the trip.

Seats for the trip are limited, and the cost is $750 with a $350 deposit that guarantees the space.

Chasteen said he encourages students who are interested in participating in the study trip to appear personally at his office in NSCE 1104A. Students will need to complete the mandatory questionnaire before they pay the deposit.

More information on the minicourse can be found in brochures located throughout the campuses.

Chasteen said the minicourse would be a great experience for adventurous students eager to learn and experience the world while compiling knowledge.

“Travel is one of the most educational things you can do,” he said.


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