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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Service, Spiders, Green Thumbs, and Nuns, Or, As We Call It At Marymount: Tuesday

Have you ever seen a sow-bug killer spider? If you haven’t, click here. It’s important to have the image in your head—unless it’ll give you nightmares, in which case, refrain from clicking. (Too late? My bad...)

They’re the ugliest spiders I think I have ever seen (because I don’t live in Australia).

You're probably wondering at this point why I am writing about creepy red spiders with disproportionately large fangs.

Is it, you might ask, some kind of twisted metaphor for the application process? No (but that is an intriguing idea). I am writing about them because at our recent All-College Service Day, I had one of the little lovelies take a long stroll up my arm: index finger to armpit.

I won’t lie to you. I screamed. I screamed like a bunny doing bungee. Then I performed a passable rendition of “River Dance” in front of dozens of my colleagues and the President of the College. People stared.

Other than inquisitive arachnids, however; the day was a huge success. Our entire faculty and staff traveled to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy and worked with trowel and shovel to reintroduce native plant species to White Point Nature Preserve, which was once a World War II military outpost. The mission of the Conservancy is to create a publicly accessible, protected, sustainable habitat for critters large and small (even those dripping venom from saber-like pincers)—a mission that we proudly support. One of the core tenets of Marymount College and our founders, The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, is service to our community and environment, and I must say that I think it’s pretty unique in the academic world for an entire college staff to give up a day to hack at adamantine root systems, plant (or at least attempt to plant, in my case) tufts of aptly named “needle grass,” and play with mutant spiders. We all learned a lot. I learned (through the exasperation of one of our faculty members) that my thumb will never be accused of being green. One of our groups learned that virtually any aspect of horticulture can be made into a vivid metaphor for education. And one intrepid spider learned how to fly. 

Awesome Picture Courtesy of Artist Tumetsu
Here are some pictures (thanks Brad Hess!) from the day. Enjoy!

"Everyone stop! I lost my contact!"

"Perfect place to do some yoga contortions."

This pretty much sums up my life's ambition.

The male to female staff ratio remains consistent.

T.J. approves of buses.

President Brophy + shovel = force to be reckoned with.

"You should see the silo where they keep the Vinaigrette."

Leave a comment. I triple dog dare you. All of the cool kids are doing it.

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