Laura Jardine, biology sophomore, is basically a middle-aged park ranger. In her spare time, she enjoys birding (“not birdwatching”), cleaning, checking tire pressure, and listening to The Eagles.
Jardine described this interview as a PCA (principal components analysis) of herself.
Q: What is the difference between birdwatching and birding?
A: Birdwatching is when you sit in your kitchen window and say “look, a bird.” Birding is an epic voyage. A hero’s journey to find the truth where truth may not even exist.
Q: What is one of your special skills, and what do you wish could be your next special skill?
A: I’m better than your average human at ID-ing birds by sight. I feel like people who can ID birds by their call are the ultimate birders, though, so I’m working on cultivating that skill.
Q: What bird are you?
A: OH MY GOSH. I’m a black-crowned night heron. They do a hunching motion that I do when I experience different emotions. There’s also a yellow-crowned one, but I’m the black one because I consider myself more of a realist and less of a dreamer. I like being a heron because I like being on the water, but I would love to be a bufflehead because they have a big white afro. Plus, I think waterfowl, Anseriformes, to be exact, are the best taxonomic order of birds.
Q: What is the greatest tragedy this world has ever experienced?
A: Human-induced climate change
Q: What’s your favorite song?
A: “Copperline” by James Taylor. It’s just a whiff of home. It reminds me of being on a lake with the waves carrying me up and down as the song warms me.
Q: What book changed your life the most?
A: For sure the Little House on the Prairie series. There’s so much empowerment! If you want to accomplish something, work hard and get to it!
Q: If you could make a movie character come to life, who would you pick?
A: Maria from The Sound of Music. She decided to do what was best for her, and in doing so, made a lot of other people happy.
Q: What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?
A: I get to see birds today! And then sludge (coffee). Wait, first there was a moan of despair when my alarm went off.
Q: What is the ultimate dream?
A: I want to go to grad school and study ecology. Then, I want to get a job collaborating with smart people and playing outside. And they pay me.
Q: What is something that very few people know about you?
A: One of my pet peeves is when people aren’t able to determine cardinal directions in a place where they live every day. Watch the sunsets, folks. It’ll tell you a lot of things.
Q: What is your greatest irrational fear?
A: Crabs. I’m terrified of crabs. I can handle spiders, snakes, you name it, but crabs give me the heebie jeebies.
Q: What is a topic that society as a whole should know more about?
A: The scientific process. I think a lot of scientific misconceptions like the controversy over climate change or vaccines would be cleared up if people understood all the work that goes into scientific research. It’s not a linear process.
Q: Do you plan to have a child, and if so, what would you name your first born?
A dog-kid, yes. I’ll name it after a great theologian. I can’t decide which one until I meet the dog-kid, though.
Q: What national park are you?
A: I recently took a quiz about which state I belonged in. I got Alaska, so I’ll go with Denali. It’s very majestic, very untamed, unmaimed by man’s greedy fist.
Q: What is your favorite source of food?
A: Quik Trip. It’s glorious. I highly recommend everything, but my personal favorites include their original roast coffee and apple fritters.
Q: What is your fatal flaw?
A: I am too stubborn sometimes. When I get in a mule funk, I will fight back even when it’s irrational.
Q: What one person would you like to meet before you die, and how many brain cells would you trade to meet them?
A: I would like to sit down with Neil Young to discuss GMOs and his life. My brain is my treasure and I would sacrifice very little of it, even for Neil. Sorry, buddy.
Q: What is your most prized article of clothing?
A: For sure my forest green double-layer henley. I’d been looking at it for over a year before putting it on a wish list. I read over 500 reviews and my favorite one that beautifully describes the shirt says “it makes cold, damp days wonder why you’re so content.”
Q: What is a distinct memory from your childhood?
A: My family has always spent a ton of time at Grand Lake during the summer. I was probably eight or nine when I saw a water snake near the shore in early June. I refused to go into the water for the rest of the summer. I spent a lot of 100+ degree days sweating on the shore while everyone else played in the water. It was a prime example of my bullheadedness getting in the way of what’s best for me. I was an idiot. I love bodies of water and can’t resist getting in them now.
Q: What is your favorite place on campus?
A: I have ‘my’ picnic table below Sarkey’s. It’s a perfect place where the wind is relatively blocked, and you can see a lot of the campus birds.
Q: What is one career you could NEVER do?
I would be a terrible performer. I play some instruments, and I’ve come to believe that recitals may be Satan’s spawn.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: I LOVE bison. And Braums. And stupid jokes. And birds.
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