York Research Group (and collaborators) on Florida Retreat

After LBSR made a big impace at the 255th ACS Meeting in New Orleans,
it was time to take a step back to reflect and plan for the the future.....in Florida

After the intense activity of the New Orleans ACS meeting, the York group had a retreat to North Florida, near Gainesville, the homes of UFL collaborators Adrian Roitberg and Michael Harris who joined in discussions.  As a result, the York lab has initiated new collaborative projects that will be ongoing and require more regular meetings.  The retreat itself combined discussions, brainstorming sessions, and team-building activities (AGENDA).  The outcome is that the group has developed a strategic plan with specific goals and set milestones for the upcoming year.



"Rather than getting right back to the hustle and bustle of the semester at home, this retreat gave me the opportunity to actually reflect upon my conversations and experiences from the ACS meeting while they were still fresh in my mind. Getting to discuss new ideas with my lab group in a relaxed setting helped me to sort through my plans and paint a clear picture of what I want to do next."



Thursday 3/22/2018

From New Orleans to Florida


The group got together at 5am to start driving down to Florida.  Newly Invigorated from a very successful conference at the 255th ACS meeting in New Orleans, the team began driving and disucssing about what to in the coming year.


As we continued driving into florida, we saw a really cool battle ship as we drove along the highway






Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

First stop is at Homosassa.  From manatees cruising the shallow waters to birds flitting around in the treetops, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is one of the best spots on Florida’s Gulf Coast for experiencing native wildlife. 








"After being supersaturated in many dimensions of science, it was a great experience to have the serenity of Florida’s nature and wildlife to sort and brew the thoughts and ideas I walked away with from the conference. I also got to know more about and develop a deeper connection with Ken, Emily and Darrin during these two days, than I did in the last year and a half since I joined the lab. But more importantly I now have become “friends” with a manatee!"


Friday 3/23/2018

Crystal River Manatee Snorkeling 

The York group started the morning at 6:30am with a manatee snorkel tour of Crystal River.  The Florida manatee is an endangered species, and herbivore that grazes on sea grass in the Gulf of Mexico and in the spring-fed  rivers of Florida.  During the winter months when the water temperature in the Gulf drops, manatees retreat to places like Crystal River where temperatures are at a constant 70-74 F year round.  The headwaters of Crystal River, known as Kings Bay, is fed by Three Sisters Springs, which is a protected sanctuary for the manatee.

Two manatees swimming toward the Three Sisters springs Manatee Belly Rub



















And of course - eventually the team needs to dry off and get back onto the boat.








Rainbow River Tour

In the afternoon, the York group continued their retreat experience on a kayak tour in the Rainbow Springs State Park, located at the confluence of the Rainbow River and the Withlacoochee River, two of the finest rivers in Florida!










With over 11,000 academics in attendance and 7,000 technical presentations in the span of five days, the New Orleans ACS meeting packed in a whole lot for a budding grad student to take in... I enjoyed so many insightful talks, posters, and conversations, I really needed the following days with Darrin, Emily, and Solen in a relaxed environment to digest it all. I doubt I would have retained a fraction of what I did, had I gone straight home to the lab! And I also doubt that Darrin, Emily, Solen, and I would have grown so comfortable with each other, had we all gone straight home to the lab!