Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Reaching new audiences

The itinerary for the 2nd leg of the Incan Empires cruise.
(The first leg had mostly different ports.)
Surprise! 18 months after applying to be a cruise lecturer for Holland America Line, I received an email on Feb. 10th offering me a choice of the first or second leg of their Incan Empires Cruise (from San Diego to Lima, Peru and back) I chose the 2nd leg (leaving Lima Peru on March 9th) so I'd have an extra 2 weeks to prepare seven 40-minute lectures with most of them being destination oriented. Not much time to prepare; so pretty much almost everything else was put on hold to do the research and pull together coherent presentations and then practice them.

Here is what I submitted:

Presentations by Ginny Stibolt for the 2nd leg of the Incan Empires Cruise: 03/09/17 - 03/24/17 
Destination presentations
 1) Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Details on coffee history, types of coffee, how it's grown and processed.
2) Oceans: The Real Lungs of the World We can thank the oceans' plants for the oxygen in our atmosphere
3) Rainforests: the most Diverse Ecosystems in the World There is so much going on under the calm-looking canopies of the rain forests
4) Farming Methods of the Maya, Aztec, & Inca Growing food on a mass scale was as impressive a feat as building their cities and monuments.
5) Traveling Plants Plants have various methods of self disbursal, but humans have changed the patterns.
General presentations
6)Public Gardens Take a Walk on the Wild Side Traditional public gardens are well-trimmed and orderly, but newer public gardens have emphasized native plants.
7) Gardens around the World: Why do people “Need” to Garden. A tour of gardens large and small, especially those in unusual places.
The lectures are presented on sea days as part of the on-board enrichment. My presentations were at 11:30am, while the other lecturer, a geologist, normally gave his presentations at 2pm. I did the first 6 presentations, with the sixth topic being more in tune with what I usually cover, why native plants are important. The last sea day had too many conflicts, so I did not give the seventh presentation.
A ship's tech is focusing my introductory slide. 

Coffee is grown in all the countries visited on this cruise, so I started there. 

I learned a lot, like what the heck is civet coffee is and why is the most expensive coffee in the world. Eww!

Rainforests are important ecosystems in central and South American countries. Several of the shore excursions were to rain forests.

The people who came to all my lectures received a good review of botany with some extra information that was surprising about each topic. The gal who created the ship's trivia sessions in the evenings, attended all my lectures and said that my presentations were a rich source of facts. Also, because she used my presentations for material, that brought in the trivia buffs who might not have otherwise been attracted to my material.

I learned a lot about the Maya, Aztec, and Inca cultures. 

Their crops are still important to today's food. 

Plants have their own dispersal methods, but humans have taken plants for a wild ride around the globe. In this presentation, I answered the question, "How did the American sunflower become Russia's national flower?" 

We hadn't been on the Maasdam before, but we like that it's the 2nd smallest ship in the HAL fleet. That way when we reach a port, we are not arriving with 4,000 of our shipmates, but only 1100 or so, although this cruise was not full, so maybe only 900 passengers were keeping us company.
On port days, we were mostly travelers like all the other passengers, but twice, both my husband and I were ship escorts for ship-sponsored shore excursions, but on separate excursions, so that was different. In Manzanillo, we found our own way around town including a small black-sand beach and a nice market. We love the markets, because this tells us a lot about the real people who live in these places..
We love to see what unusual produce is offered in local markets. Hot peppers of all types and shapes.

Scraping the thorns and prickles from the nopales of the prickly pear. We've been to many markets, but had not seen meat in a wheelbarrow before. 

The view from the second level.
I loved this adventure because I was able to reach a different set of people with my presentations and and eventually was able to talk about native plants. So now have a whole new set of friends. Someone asked if I was Italian because I talked with my hands. No, I'm not Italian, but I guess I'd fit in with that culture.

Lots, of salad crops were ready to be harvested when we got home. I hope you are able to enjoy adventures, whether they are at home or away.

(Update 12/21/19: Since that first assignment, I've done several others including Hawaii twice and more in South America including a trip 1000 miles up the Amazon River. I keep improving the presentations and continue to develop new ones. The reaction from the cruisers to all the science I present is overwhelmingly positive. As an advocate for Mother Nature, this opportunity has been so rewarding.)

Green Gardening Matters,
Ginny Stibolt

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