Category Archives: Outdoors

Don’t Worry Be Healthy: Five Ways to Make Working Out More Fun

-Marissa Tomko

Running on a treadmill reminds me of hamsters, running and running on their little hamster wheels, going no where, getting no closer to a destination. Talk about boring.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span on one of those mechanisms is about five minutes. I start getting antsy about my music, eyeing the clock, and redoing my ponytail fifty times in a row. I just can’t take the repetition!

Unlike a hamster though, I am able to break out of my cage and make a more exciting workout routine for myself. And with that in mind, I present to you my top five favorite ways to work out without being bored to tears!

Zumba

Call me crazy, but this Latin-inspired workout is probably the best I’ve ever partaken in. Zumba is basically just a big dance party, and at the end of it, you’re sweating your face off and you can kiss the gym goodbye for the day! My personal favorite thing about Zumba is how it can turn even the most uncoordinated person into a superstar. All you have to do is check your inhibitions at the door, and I promise you’ll have the best, most fun workout of your life.

Hiking

If you live in Eugene, you probably have some sort of affinity for the outdoors. Instead of a repetitive hour on the elliptical where you just awkwardly stare out the same window, why not take your talents outside so you can enjoy some ever-changing scenery and become one with nature?

Workout videos

Hear me out: I realize you would probably feel silly in your house or apartment taking orders from some random person on your television. However, it can actually be the best time of your life. Grab a few friends and pop in an amusing workout DVD. My personal favorite is Brazil Butt Lift. The guy on the video cracks me up, and even if I end up not working out for the whole time, I get some nice abs from laughing so hard.

Water fights

Pardon my theatrics, but these days it is so hot, I feel like I am super-glued to the sun and I can’t escape the heat. That makes going on a run pretty difficult because heat stroke is not something I am trying to get out of my workout. So I enjoy the occasional impromptu water fight complete with Super Soakers and water balloons! It entails a lot of running around, and you can finally cool down from the Eugene summer weather.

Rollerblading

My roommate and I have big plans for the summer that involve buying overalls and rollerblading all over Eugene. This activity is a surprisingly good calorie burner, as well as a nice blast from the past! So strap on those wheels and get going!

On Trend: Makeup to Beat the Heat

 

-Rache’ll Brown

It’s 97 degrees and you are pouring sweat. Your eye shadow is creasing, your blush is streaking, and your skin is shinier than a freshly waxed floor. You decide to take a dip in the pool, and your mascara runs down your face making you resemble a raccoon.

This is every girl’s nightmare in the summer. In the past, when the temperature reached 80 degrees plus, I’d be stuck with a dilemma—should I attempt to look like a semi-decent human being, or should I ditch makeup altogether to avoid the inevitable mess that ensues via the blazing sun? But then I learned about the magic of waterproof makeup and immediately started giving the products a little test run. This is what I’ve been left with; may the days of running mascara be left behind for good. Amen.

For the Eyes

In any occasion, whether the temperature is insanely high or not, eye shadow primer is always a necessity. Always. Not only does it help your shadow stick longer, but it also makes the colors more vibrant. Another alternative is cream eye shadow, or Maybeline’s new color tattoos. In the summer I stick strictly to light, neutral colors because if something is to go awry the mess is less noticeable. I’d also recommend skipping a lot of eyeliner—simply lining the waterline should suffice, and if it is a necessity use waterproof liquid, not pencil or gel. And of course, opt for a waterproof version of your favorite mascara to finish off your eyes because mascara is one of those products that should be present even if nothing else is.

For the Face

Just like an eye primer, a good moisturizer is something that should be used year-round. The sun will dry out your skin, and a moisturizer with an SPF will keep your face supple and protect from sun damage. If you don’t have problematic skin, great! Skip foundation at all, or opt for something like a BB Cream or Skin Tint—they both offer light, sheer coverage that’ll let your skin breathe in the heat. I have a naturally porcelain complexion, so I always use bronzer. In the summer, Stila’s One Step Bronze is perfect because it gives a little color without a cakey finish. Lastly, use a cream blush or cheek tint for a pinch of color; they are long lasting and look more natural on the skin as long as they are thoroughly blended.

So this summer, skip the streaky mess and sport a more put-together look. By using long lasting and breathable products, your face with stay in place all day while still being comfortable in the summer heat.

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Climbing Mt. Shasta: A Journey After Spinal Fusion Surgery

-Emily Fraysse

My eyes opened at the sound.

The nurses dressed in all white with hairnets and facemasks were clinking the industrial set of tools around on a steel patter to my right. I drifted off again as I felt a sting of the IV slide into my right arm.

My eyes opened at another sound.

My father’s alarm had gone off. It was three o’clock in the morning and I had just been dreaming a flashback to the spinal fusion surgery I had undergone around two years before.

Sliding on my down coat and slipping on my booties, I heaved myself out of the comfort of my royal blue tent and out into the cold, deserted ice. I could see my father had already begun boiling the water for tea and my younger sister, Madeline, still fast asleep in her sheltered cocoon.

With a full moon over head, the view was stupendous. It was still the dark hours of the morning, but with the full moon, the shadows of the luscious pines and the sparkle of the snow was clearly visible. Looking up at the slope of Mt. Shasta, a lit ant trail of climbers were already making their way up to the looming ridge above.

A bowl of oatmeal later and I was snapping my crampons onto my boots and heaving my thirty-pound pack on my semi-sore back. My back has been an issue for many years due to a duel with scoliosis. I spent the winter break of my senior year of high school getting a spinal fusion (two titanium rods fused to my spine to prevent the curve from gaining distance). The surgery, thankfully, worked, and a mere two years later I was climbing again. I had climbed before my surgery, but just a few times here and there with my father and sister.

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One step. Stop. Breathe. Another step. Stop. Breathe.

And that’s how it went for the next eight hours uphill. Any faster and the climber would find themselves exhausted after only three hours, unable to scale the 14,179 foot California mountain.

This was my battle. Battling my body, my mind, my mountain.

One step. Stop. Breathe. Another step. Stop. Breathe.

I couldn’t necessarily feel the rods, but I knew they were there. It had taken me about six months after the surgery until I was fully healed, and even then I was still not allowed to go on rollercoasters or partake in any other potentially dangerous activities for an entire year. Luckily, a mountaineering backpack sits on your hips, thus lessening the pressure on your spine.

I pushed my body and my mind, step by step. It wasn’t enough to cause injury, but I wanted to push myself to see how far I really could go. The first doctor I went to when I had first found out that I had scoliosis said that there was nothing I could do for it—not even surgery would help. But I took the plunge: a scarily deep plunge that has left me with a giant scar going all the way down my back. I wanted to prove to myself and to him that I could do it.

And I did.

The Art of Raising Chickens

Coop

-Emily Fraysse

I’ve had chickens since I was about ten years old. I’d spend my mornings letting them out and collecting the fresh eggs nestled in the straw of the nesting boxes.

It all started when my older sister, Anne, was found constantly sketching ideas of chicken coops and practically begging our father to build one so that she could pretend like she was Amy from the film Fly Away Home. A year later and the beautiful coop was built with a flock of ten stunning Barred Rock, Sex-Link, Buff Orpingtons, and one Indian Runner duck. Over time, the ivy grew up and over the sides of the coop, hiding it in the field.

My parents, sisters, and I had little knowledge of how to take care of chickens when starting out. We learned as we went. The baby chicks, unable to be in the giant coop just yet, spent the first few weeks in a galvanized tub with shavings, wood, water, and a heat lamp. When they began to get their feathers and gain strength, we let them roam in the coop and the outside “pen” area. They spent another week there before we finally let them roam the one-acre property.

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The first batch of chickens that we had, we had to manually put them into the coop at night because they would not go on their own. Although this was a bit tricky and a hassle, they eventually they got the hang of it. Now, they go inside independently when the sun begins to set and the predators roam about. Living in the suburbs of San Francisco, there are owls, foxes, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, and other animals that are around.

The only up-keeping that I find necessary with the chickens is to clean the coop every month (take out old straw and replace it with fresh straw), close them in at night, let them out in the morning, and make sure they have food and water. Also make sure that, especially after you’ve introduced a new flock of chicks to the older chickens, none of the chickens get picked on. Chickens can be pretty mean to each other and will single out one or a few chickens that look “different” to them. Once chickens get the taste of blood in their beaks, they go crazy for it in a very cannibalistic way.

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I have found that I can no longer eat regular eggs from chickens that have not had the ability to roam free and have been cooped up their entire lives. The ones allowed to roam free have different sized eggs and the yoke is a deeper yellow. I have yet to buy the jumbo white eggs that are found at the local grocery store. I love my chickens and could never, ever imagine growing up without them.

The Best of Oregon Camping

lake

-Rache’ll Brown

In the past two decades I’ve had my fair share of bug bites, sun burns, Big Foot sightings, and campfire stories. I’ve caught fish, made s’mores, polar-beared, and had my tent tipped. Some of my best childhood memories were spent in the great outdoors, and as an Oregonian born and raised, I have spent most of my time in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Students and locals alike should experience a night or two in Oregon’s natural beauty, and these are a few places that I think are worth a visit.

Moonshine Park

Growing up on the Central Oregon Coast, an appearance of the sun meant a trip to Moonshine, not the beach. A mere fifteen dollars grants campers an overnight stay at Lincoln County’s most popular park. Plus: the people-watching is prime on a nice day.

Paulina Lake

Central Oregon is so beautiful, and although the weather can get excruciatingly hot for this coastal girl, Bend and La Pine are some of my favorite spots in Oregon. For fourteen dollars, campers can be right next to the lake, which means fishing and rock skipping.

Coldwater Cove

I am terrified of lakes and deep bodies of water, mainly because I have no idea what lies beneath the surface. At Coldwater Cove, this isn’t an issue.  For eighteen dollars per night, campers can hang out in my favorite body of water, Clear Lake.

Yukwah Campground

Twenty dollars per night for a camping plot, but the timeless memories come free. This camping ground located outside of Sweet Home, OR is one of my favorite. It’s right across from the South Santiam River and is encased by beautiful Douglas Firs. This spot is the epitome of the Pacific Northwest.

Link Creek Campground

For sixteen dollars a night campers can experience one of my favorite places in Oregon: Suttle Lake. The first time I drove through the Santiam Pass and saw this lake I was blown away, and getting up close and personal with it was breathtaking. It truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

The Cove Palisades State Park

Growing up, lake stories didn’t count unless they took place on Billy Chinook. At twenty dollars per night campers get to experience the lake and the beautiful red cliffs surrounding it. The best part is the diverse range of outdoor activities: hiking, swimming, fishing, and sunbathing are some options that can please all.

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Spring Has Sprung – Contracting Spring Fever

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-Marissa Tomko

Someone just gave me a really weird look at a stoplight because I was screaming Luke Bryan at the top of my lungs in the car. Alone. It was the greatest moment of my life because it was sunny, warm, and beautiful, and I just wanted the whole world to share in that with me. I can’t help it though because I have come down with a severe case of spring fever!

Here in the rainy northwest, even the smallest bit of sunshine is a game changer. It takes over social media sites and brings students outdoors to bask in its rays. Classes are suddenly less full because everyone is out taking a “mental health day,” also known as a “lets go ride our bikes by the river” day. Fun in the sun takes priority, and no one seems to have an issue with their procrastinated assignments or unkempt houses. Everything is happy!

Even though the sun might be considered a novelty around here, there might be more to the fact that it makes us feel happy. According to the Huffington Post, a severe case of spring fever might be scientifically explicable. Unlike in the wintertime when we produce more melatonin and therefore sleep more, spring sunshine means less melatonin, causing you to feel more awake.

The rays don’t only mean less melatonin but also more serotonin, the chemical your body produces to put you in a better mood. I don’t know about you, but for me, being in a better mood means I’m more restless and more prone to celebrating the good weather as opposed to working in spite of it.

Word to all you fellow spring-fever-prone people out there though: just because the rain is gone does not mean that your responsibilities are too! Even though the memories you make on a beautiful day are important, so are your grades. Playing hard doesn’t come without working hard. Happy spring!

1.21 Gigawatts: Giant Snails do Demo in Florida

african land snail

-Sarah Keartes

South Florida residents have begun a battle with public danger in the form of . . . snails. Giant Snails, to be exact. Precisely when the thousands of Giant African Land Snails invaded the Sunshine State is unknown, but the new neighbors are posing real problems for the local flora, fauna, and—architecture?

Not only do these snails grow to approximately eight inches in length and consume more than five hundred species of plants, but they can also eat through plaster and stucco, which provides the calcium needed for shell restoration.

Unknown to most, snails feed using a radulae, tiny (or in this case, not-so-tiny), toothy organs. No chewing necessary—the teeth on a radula (which can number in the thousands) are used to tear, grate, and grind, and are replaced as they wear down. Some species of snail also produce an acidic secretion to break down calcium sources like the shells of other mollusks.

 

Florida certainly has a knack for accumulating visitors. In fact, about one thousand people move there every day. Why Florida? Perhaps it is the promise of low taxes, competitive school districts, and affordable housing—perhaps it is the allure of the beach. For Florida’s most recent set of squatters, it is most certainly the weather.

Native to east Africa, the giant snails thrive in warm climates, and have already settled their brigade of mobile homes in Barbados, the Hawaiian Islands, and India.

What have the southerners done to combat the hungry home-wreckers? Enter the snail-hunters. The Agricultural Department of Miami-Dade County has a staff of fifty dedicated to nothing but slimey search-and-destroy.

“Nearly one thousand snails per week are being rounded up” using a bate made with iron phosphate, Denise Feiber, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, told BBC.

Is the mollusk mass-murder really necessary? This question has caused some conflict among the locals.

“They’re huge, they move around, they look like they’re looking at you … communicating with you, and people enjoy them for that,” Feiber said. “…But they don’t realize the devastation they can create if they are released into the environment where they don’t have any natural enemies.”

A fertile Land Snail can lay up to 1,200 eggs per year, and can live up to nine years. One snail becomes over 10,000 before it bites..no wait…grinds the dust? It’s certainly a problem that needs solving, but I can’t help but cringe at the thought of sending 117,000 (and counting) of them to an oozy grave.

This isn’t the first exotic invasion Florida has had to face. A recent invasion of Burmese pythons sparked “The Python Challenge.” Sponsored by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the challenge presented locals with the opportunity to “competitively harvest” Burmese pythons. In other words? After paying the $25 entry fee, and signing the extensive waiver, locals plunged into Florida waters to wrangle and kill the exotic snakes—hoping to nab the $1,500 grand prize.

Sure, we’re thinking up creative ways to deal with new “pests,” but the underlying problem behind these exotic “invasions” lies within our own exotic pet trade, which makes up a multi-billion dollar black market industry in the U.S. alone.

The US Department of Agriculture has already confiscated illegal Giant African Land Snails from commercial pet stores, schools and private breeders Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio, and Michigan.

As officials continue to round up the sunshine-snails, the fate of the far-from-home mollusks and closer-to-home drywall remains to be seen.

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Oregon's Whale Watchdog

Carrie Newell beneath the Gray Whale head at the Whale, Sea Life, & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay, Oregon. (Image courtesy of Carrie Newell/The Whale, Sea Life, & Shark Museum)

-by Bryan Kalbrosky

On a clear day, the waters are clean and cerulean, the sky is unblemished, and the bright sun airs across the entire coast of the Pacific Northwest. Scenes like this not only help make the Oregon Coast one of the top travel destinations in the region but one of the most captivating places in the country to spend time during the spring and summer.

Perhaps one of the most compelling features that the Oregon Coast offers from late March until mid-June is the presence of nearly eighteen thousand whales passing through on their twelve-thousand-mile journey from Mexico toward the Arctic Ocean in Alaska.

It is here in Depoe Bay, the whale watching capital of the Oregon Coast, that marine biologist Carrie Newell makes her home and career.

Whale Research EcoExcursions, Newell’s company, was founded independently in 2005 after Newell hoped to seek a proactive initiative to fund her own research. She began the company following inadequate support from Oregon State University, where she was teaching at the time. Newell, a licensed captain, is also a published author and a professor of marine biology at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon.

With a six-person capacity on her ex-coastguard boat (also known as an inflatable Zodiac boat best popularized by the Cousteau team), Newell and her dog, Kida, glide through the waves of Depoe Bay in search for one of the Summer Resident Gray whales. When the residents are in season, Newell advertises a 95 percent success rate for spotting at least one whale on her countless journeys after nearly every weekend for twenty years.

While there may be dangers on a potentially rocky ride, Newell holds a diverse and varied background in both marine biology and volcanology. With more than twenty years of experience on the water, Newell has absorbed a sense of respect for the ocean. Passengers often compliment her remarkable ease with which she travels.

“I want them to be educated. I want them to feel safe. I want them to come back knowing more than they did when they left,” says Newell. She also provides jackets, hats, and blankets to any patron on the six-person journeys aboard her twenty-six-foot long boat. “You do whatever you can to make sure they’re happy.”

Even though most whales are known to stay half a mile off-shore, every hour, up to thirty whales are known to pass through when they are in season. By Oregon state law, Newell and her boat are required to stay at least one hundred yards from the whales. If the whales come toward the boat, however, the passengers may freely interact with the animals.

Each whale can grow up to forty-five feet and can weigh as much as seventy thousand pounds when fully developed. While these whales were removed from the endangered species list in 1994, the experience of spotting a whale with Newell is often considered to be a life highlight by reviewers.

“I teach [my customers] that these whales are individuals and that we have to save them because it’s not just a whale—it’s a whale with a name and with a history,” Newell says.

She claims to understand the personality of these whales even with just a half a dozen encounters. Some of her favorite whales include “Scarback” (who was hit with an exploding harpoon in the mid-1980s), and “Blanco” (also known as the “white whale male gigolo”). Her all-time favorite consistent sighting is “Eagle Eye” (whom she first encountered nearly fifteen years ago), an easily identifiable and beautiful whale she has come across every year since she first named him. After so many sightings, Newell eventually named her boat after him.

Newell’s research includes measures such as discovering a whale’s gender, if they have any calves, what their condition and feeding areas are like, what the water temperature is, and a thorough analysis of the specimens found from plankton nets.

Thanks to her vast experience and research ethic, she was one of few selected to work with both Oregon Field Guide and Ocean Future Society on PBS Features with the Cousteau team. Here, she focused her work and research on proving the feeding habits of Summer Gray whales.

“Diving with the Cousteau team and just being able to talk to them and learn about their experiences was probably one of the high points of my whole life,” Newell says.

In the 2004 PBS Feature, Newell proved that gray whales actually feed on mysid shrimp while they are in Depoe Bay, and not their usual diet of amphipods. After this discovery, her fame within the scientific community began to skyrocket.

Much of the new information Newell discovers has been applied to the museum exhibitions that she now operates on the Oregon Coast. She can often be found here on the weekends managing the Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay.

“It’s privately funded out my own pocket,” says Newell, who hopes to share her knowledge and infamous lifelong collections with people beyond her classroom. “I’m teaching an overload at the college now to help pay for the museum.”

Recently at the Whale, Sea Life & Shark Museum in Depoe Bay, Newell has installed a blowing gray whale that sprays real water and makes a sound at the push of a button. She is also working on the new bird room, with bird specimens and replica of a mother and child western gull.

As someone who paved a career to match her interests, Newell advises those struggling to find their passion to listen to to what their gut is telling them.

“It took me years to go after what I wanted to do,” Newell says. “Go with what your heart tells you is right. Get your foot in the door and keep your focus on what you want to do.”

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Shedding Light on SPF

-Marissa Tomko

I brush my teeth seven times a day. I consider salads to be a food group. I think nail care is very important, and I tell people about every little pain I feel just in case I randomly lapse into a coma and the doctors need to figure out what caused it.

That is just the beginning of the list of peculiar health obsessions that I picked up from my dad. But they’re not all weird. One actually important habit I picked up from my old man: compulsive sunscreen application.

The sun emits two types of rays that reach the earth: UVB and UVA. UVB, or ultraviolet B rays, are short wave rays that highly contribute to sunburns and skin cancers. Most sunblocks are used to protect you from UVB rays. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, this is because up until recently, it was thought that they are more dangerous than UVA rays. However, this is not the case. The CDC notes that UVA rays are the most common rays that warm the earth, and that they increase our chances of getting skin cancer. UVA rays are long wave rays that cause aging effects in the skin, such as wrinkles. It is also the main ray responsible for that golden tan so many of us long for, which over time, can cause skin cancer. Tanning salons use UVA emitting beds, and lounging in one ups your chances of getting melanoma by 75 percent after just one use—that’s pretty scary.

I know what you’re thinking—all of this ray knowledge makes you feel powerful. In fact, I know you’re reading this on your smart phone and are in the sunscreen aisle at the supermarket right now! But what kind of SPF do you buy? And what does SPF even mean?! I too, have asked these questions, and would love to shed some (sun)light on the answers.

SPF stands for sun protection factor. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sunscreens must have an SPF label, as dictated by the FDA. The SPF label tells you what percentage of UVB rays are being absorbed or deflected by the sunscreen inside. (Because of this, it is important to look for broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays.) The EPA recommends that you use an SPF of 15 or higher if you plan on being exposed to the sun for more than twenty minutes. SPF 15 protects you from ninety three percent of UVB radiation, while an SPF 30 sunscreen will absorb or deflect ninety seven percent.

I don’t get serious very often. But when it comes to sun protection, I turn into a mom. (Love you mom!) No matter who you are or what color of skin you have, it is imperative that you cover up and protect yourself. I love a day in the water or a nap in the sun as much as the next guy, but I love my health more. So when you slip on your aviators for your next adventure, slather on some sunblock, and throw on a ball cap and a button up. Your old-age self will thank you.

Miss Independent: The UO Women's Water Polo Team's Efforts Outside the Pool

-Eleni Pappelis

Sophomore Jenness Howery is an athlete at the University of Oregon. She participates in the university’s women’s water polo team but has been a swimmer since high school. She swam for Sheldon High School and was introduced to water polo her junior year. Having not gotten enough of her new found extracurricular, she joined the University of Oregon’s club women’s water polo team which she claims is the best decision she ever made.

The women water polo team at the University of Oregon consists of twenty-seven girls. Because club sports at the university are insufficiently funded, it is the women’s water polo team’s responsibility to fund expenses such as pool time and money to travel. The girls practice Monday through Thursday in Springfield. The team partakes in five traveling tournaments a season, January through April, and nationals extend through May which is based on the outcomes of regional tournaments. These tournaments take place in states such as Washington, Arizona, and California.

Howery explains, “It’s really important that we fundraise. Obviously it’s important to help girls who can’t pay the full amount to participate, but it’s also important to make sure to be successful inside and outside the water.”

Each year, the team comes up with fun and creative ways to fund themselves. Some activities include cleaning up Matthew Knight Arena after games or events, sending letters to friends and family to donate money, and selling donuts, cookies, and shirts. Restaurants such as Track Town Pizza and Panda Express participate and have donated a percent of their profits on a scheduled day to the team.

One of Howery’s favorite fundraisers is a banquet held for the highest donors. This banquet is waited by the team and includes a silent auction with prizes from gift baskets to resort vacations. Howery explains that this particular event is special to her because the whole team is bonding to support themselves.

These ladies consistently make it to nationals, and have been working hard to uphold the success they make for themselves.

Image from http://pages.uoregon.edu/duckpolo/index.html