Swirling Pelicans, Corn as an Ornamental, and Travel around the Midwest

Hey all! This weekend marked the end of my first official recruiting trip for SCA!

While driving, I was excited to also be doing a little bit of bird watching. (I wouldn’t say I’m a birder, just a bird watcher.) In Wisconsin, I saw wild turkeys, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks, and even a bald eagle that swooped across the front of my car on my way from Minnesota (where I was for a wedding) to Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Then in Illinois, I saw more hawks and crows along the road, including one hawk that plummeted past my car into the median after some prey! Near the wetlands I passed, I also saw egrets and great blue herons. But probably the coolest sighting was these giant, swirling masses of great white pelicans as I drove away from Southern Illinois University. Before, I’d only ever really seen these birds preening and feeding at Lake Metigoshe State Park in North Dakota (site of one of my SCA internships). It was fascinating to see multiple flocks swirling above and to the side of the highway, their silhouettes fading in and out as the black and white of their wings alternately blended in and stood out again the fluffy white clouds. Beautiful! Sorry no pictures…I was driving!

And of course, we can’t talk about the Midwest without talking about corn and the other bread basket crops grown here in the Heartland. Attached are a few pictures I took on campus that illustrate the impact agriculture has had on shaping the Midwest, from landscaping to research.

Outside Ag Hall at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Near the ACES Library at the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign.

And I just had to include this picture, a rainbow that appeared in my rearview mirror (although when I stopped to take a picture, it ended up in my side view mirror) at the very end of my trip. I’d like to think it was a reminder that once you get through the gloomy and tough times, there might be something great waiting for you!

So besides bird watching and taking pictures, what else did I do? I traveled to Loyola University – Chicago, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, and the University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign. I met with alumni, prospective applicants, faculty members, and staff. I held information sessions and drop in hours. And a few professors even let me give brief presentations in their classrooms! Overall, it was a successful first couple weeks on the road, and I really enjoyed being out on campus, talking to students and getting them excited about SCA!

Starting later this week, I’m off on my second trip. Schools for this trip include: Indiana University, Purdue University, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, Iowa State University, Western Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, and Central Michigan University. Check here for up-to-date info on when I’ll be at each of these universities.

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