Kylie Czulewicz spent four weeks on the east coast of Australia studying tropical marine ecology through the Australearn organization. Beginning in Brisbane, she traveled north up the coast of the state of Queensland until reaching her final destination in Cairns. She spent approximately one week on three different islands, studying its vegetation, terrestrial and marine life, development of the island itself and many other aspects of its ecology. While there she was also collecting data to be organized into a presentation on a particular topic at the end of each week. On her first island, Stradbroke, she learned about sand island ecology. She collected over three thousand gastropods of many different species and studied their density at low, mid and high tidal zones of a rocky headland. On her second island, Heron, she learned about coral cay ecology. This island was located seventy kilometers from the mainland and developed on top of and as a result of the Great Barrier Reef. While on this island, she collected data by snorkeling two times a day in the inner reef, outer reef and outer reef crest zones. She was studying the distribution and densities of the different species of coral found along multiple transect lines throughout each zone. On the third and final island, Orpheus, Kylie learned about continental island ecology. Here, she conducted a similar project as was completed on Heron so that she could compare the differences between the two islands. She collected data at each different reef zone, trying to uncover any differences in species abundance in different reef zones when compared to Heron island. Throughout her travels, Kylie felt as though she were living as a true biologist at research stations that were very committed to green living. Water conservation was essential at each station, as well as recycling of papers, plastics, food scraps and wastes. She learned so much from being in a “hands-on” environment every day. She was able to see and touch many of the species she was learning about during her lecture hours. Information was so easy to retain because she was so immersed in the environment she was studying. She got to hike, climb and swim to places that even Australians do not get to go to because her program took her places that only researchers can go in places that are uninhabited. She took in so much from her Australian professor and traveling chefs about life in Australia and got to eat many authentic Australian meals. After her program came to a close she was able to stay another week to travel to Sydney and Melbourne with two classmates. This gave her an opportunity to become a tourist rather than a student and see many of the sites Australia is famous for. During her stay in Australia, Kylie grew on a personal level, as a global citizen and as a student. She accomplished a lifelong dream and began a lifelong journey to see the world.
CEE Title: Human Trafficking Awareness Day