Thursday, July 24, 2014
Lessons learned in Turkey
From June 15 to 25, I visited Turkey to meet with Ali Donmez, a Turkish botanist and leader of the team that translated the Essentials of Conservation Biology into Turkish. We traveled across northern and eastern Turkey, visiting national parks and other areas of interest with a goal to locating examples from Turkey to be included in a future edition of the textbook.
A highlight of the trip was to observe the rich display of wildflowers associated with this sunny, dry climate, including huge mounds of crown vetch flowers in fields, reddish pink clumps of Saponaria flowers growing on roadside embankments, and alpine flowers amidst rock outcrops on mountain peaks at Ilgaz National Park. Another highlight was the great abundance of water birds at the Bird Paradise National Park and the surrounding colorful but stark landscape near Baypassir. Many national parks were surprising for their emphasis on picnicking, with a notable absence of hiking trails, biological research and inventorying, and conservation education.
The conclusion of the trip was a conference of biology professors in the beautiful northern city of Eskesehir, which included a visit to an ancient Phrygian temple and ruins.