Patsy Herrera

Patsy Herrera

Monday, 22 June 2020 04:28

Going into the Fifth Week and Juneteenth

Hello everyone! 

Self-quarantine is over!!! It has been over for over two weeks. I was so excited to finally be out in the field. I am finally able to look at a couple of different invasive species and tell them apart. It finally all doesn’t look the same to me. I'm always amazed when looking at parks/green spaces and find out that what I used to think was native is actually not. The picture for this blog post mostly has invasive species that was on a site at the North Bridge (if you would have told me a month ago that those are all native species, you could have fooled me). Since we're talking about invasive species, that site also contained an invasive species called catchweed bedstraw (picture below and identified using inaturalist). This plant was found in a section of the park that is called sergeant field and is a wetland area. This place used to be a farm that included Elisha Jones’s house. Quick bit of history and lore on Elisha Jones house!

“When Thomas Jones died in 1774, his son Elisha inherited all of his property. In April 19, 1775, a day when Elisha Jones, his wife Elizabeth, and two young children at the time were living near the North Bridge when fighting broke out. According to legend, Elisha was watching the British retreat from the North Bridge when one of them took a shot at him; the bullet lodged in the shed. The hole can still be seen today, though whether or not it came from a bullet is up for debate” (source: https://npplan.com/parks-by-state/massachusetts-national-parks/minute-man-national-historical-park-park-at-a-glance/minute-man-national-historical-park-historical-homes/minute-man-national-historical-park-elisha-jones-house/)

 

Back to the bedstraw, I found out that this flowering plant (bedstraw) was used for filling in mattresses that the soldiers used when coming to America (which is why it is called bedstraw).There are other species of bedstraw such as sweet-scented bedstraw (G. odoratum) that is used in perfumes and sachets and for flavoring beverages. Lady’s bedstraw (G. verum), is used in Europe to curdle milk and to color cheese. (source: https://www.britannica.com/plant/bedstraw


 

 

“Juneteenth today, celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures”

 

Juneteenth recently just passed; I was not sure how to include this in my post. In fact, I didn’t know about the exact details until the last couple of years. So, if you also don’t know exactly what this celebration is about. I will include some facts below (link of these sources will be below as well as some videos on the topic):

  • Two years after the emancipation proclamation (passed in 1863) Juneteenth is the anniversary of June 19,1865, the day that 200,000 Texan slaves found out they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. They were the last slaves to find out.
  • Major General Gordon Granger and his Union soldiers delivered the news to the slaves and after that day it became a tradition for African Americans to celebrate freedom.
  • Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Order Number 3:
    • "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”
  • The Juneteenth flag with its rectangle and five-pointed star serves as a reminder that slavery was made illegal.
  • 41 other states and the District of Columbia have recognized Juneteenth as a state holiday or holiday observance, including Rhode Island earlier this year. 

Sources & video: http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm,https://naacp.org/latest/juneteenth-education-is-freedom/https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He0dxbINs7Mhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iu6ntwHws5g

If you choose not to watch any of the videos above, please consider watching these two:

 

Monday, 01 June 2020 20:31

My thoughts on Concord and fresh cheese

Hi! Hello!

I hope you are all well and staying safe. There is some much going on and being away from home makes me wish things were different. That however does not change the fact that I am excited to be here, and that video chat has never been ever more present in my life. I have officially been here over a couple of days almost a week, but for now I want to talk about how last week went:

I left home last Tuesday and traveled from New Jersey (NJ) to Massachusetts (MA), made one stop. I stopped by a grocery store on my way to Concord and was nervous to walk around, staying six feet away at all times is challenging. During that stop, I put on hand sanitizer before and after, wore a mask, and made sure to keep the appropriate distance from everyone. I was on the lookout for something to drink, until I saw in the refrigerator section Mexican/Latin American products (gromex, tropical, queso fresco, and crema). I was surprised to see this at a random stop in Connecticut. I almost wanted to stop and take a picture to show my parents (I didn’t). I bought a can of soda and left. 

Arriving at Concord, I did not realize how beautiful it was going to be. Google street view and in person are two different things.Then I saw the inn that I would be staying and I was even more shocked. It is bigger than the apartment I live in back home. I was grateful to be given the chance to live here during my time at Minute Man National Historical Park. Early next morning, I was in front of the North Bridge. The feeling was nostalgic, especially during these times. I remembered geeking out with my friends back in 6th grade about US history on our trip to D.C. I felt lucky to be here. 

I met Margie, who has been very helpful and gave me some tips on where to get food. I was given a quick tour of some areas around the park and learned about some invasive species (e.g. Japanese knotweed) in the area when dropping off my car rental. I am always surprised by the differences between cities and small towns. Constant car horns are replaced with bird chirps. The night time is always a little more darker. People have preferences but I like both. Which brings me to that one afternoon on the porch when I was reading a book (an autobiography full of humor). As I looked up ahead at the intersection, the trees were rustling, a nice breeze came along, and I thought to myself...I should have bought fresh cheese and corn tortillas when I had the chance.

It is always an adjustment moving from one place to another even if it is temporary. I am however thankful and beyond grateful for being given the opportunity to be part of this internship and being given the permission to travel during uncertain times. Everyone here has been so kind and helpful. It has been a memorable first week and I can’t wait to go out to the field. 

Thursday, 23 April 2020 21:50

Patsy Herrera

Patsy Herrera is an undergraduate Biology major with a concentration in Environmental Science and a minor in Anthropology from Montclair State University. Born and raised in New Jersey, Patsy and her twin brother are first generation Mexican-Americans. Her interests focus on research and doing fieldwork in ecological agriculture that aids in conservation and food scarcity in underprivileged communities. During her undergraduate studies, she was part of a research project in Madagascar led by a Montclair State professor as a field assistant, an intern for PSEG Institute for Sustainable Studies, STEM Pioneer Mentor, and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation mentor and scholar. She also enjoys learning about soil science, insects, data analytics, permaculture, and making GIS maps. In her free time she enjoys painting, gardening, going on picnics with friends, and volunteering for nonprofits that support underrepresented people. Patsy will be completing her undergraduate degree in May 2020. She is grateful to be part of LHIP this summer with the people at Minute Man National Historical Park.