Welcome to my blog! My name is Tom Shaw and I am a student in the Masters of Outdoor Adventure and Expedition Leadership (MOAEL) program here at Southern Oregon University (SOU). Throughout my life I’ve held a lifelong fascination with travel, physics, astronomy and outdoor adventure. These passions have led me on exciting adventures near home (hiking and camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire), across the country (Space Camp in Huntsville Alabama) and even abroad (Serving in the Peace Corps in Tanzania for 3 years). In my journeys I also earned a B.S. in Physics and M. Ed at the University of New Hampshire.
What could a blog written by someone with this background possibly look like? Well here is a sneak peek on the types of questions I will be answering in the first few upcoming blog entries…
Have you ever wondered why a compass doesn’t always point to Magnetic North when hiking on a volcano? I certainly did as a student in the Wilderness Navigation class I took here at SOU. Soon, I was learning about the magnetic fields frozen within ancient lava fields across the planet. Next, I was wondering if that same compass, would run into the same problem, should it be used to climb volcanoes on Mars. I should mention, I am, obsessed, with Mars!
Perhaps, like me, you were thru-hiking in the Swiss Alps without water and wondered if the funny looking red snow is ok to drink? I found the answer to this question in the Outdoor Living Skills class offered here at SOU. Would you believe red snow has an impact on global warming? It does. Of course, I also then researched if drinking water on a lunar exploration mission is as simple as melting the water ice found on the Moon’s poles.
Are you passionate about preserving the environment? Have you wondered what the heck is an ecological self? And do the principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) still apply if you see the world through the lens of the ecological self? My mind was blown when the topic of ecological self came up in the Minimal Impact Adventuring class I am currently taking here at SOU. Naturally, I then also wondered what LNT practices does NASA use, if any, when traveling off the planet!?
So get ready to adventure outdoors, wonder, learn and dream off travel off the planet!