On October 18th, 2018, FIU Honors students of Poetry Art Community 2018-2019 were led on an educational hike by Deering Estate Director Jennifer Tisthammer. The group walked out to the Cutler Fossil Site. Following their experience on the hike, students shared their voices and opinions through photographs and personal reflections.
Thousands and thousands of caves remain,
Only some of the ancient fossils attained.
Layers of rock with stories untold,
Only had James known a long time ago
The importance of the Deering Estate for Florida’s history.
“Step exactly as I go” to find spots of
Limestone completely untouched.
Ladders reach down below where
Deers and dire wolves came to feast
On the abandoned prey.
You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,
That woolly mammoths once roamed where we hike,
Until I hand you a rock,
With a chip of a fang from a saber-toothed tiger.
40,000 years old, do you think Jesus would have known?
As we stand above sea level,
It makes me wonder,
What kind of people do we truly come from?
Indians? Spanish? Who actually settled first?
Discovering hidden faces that are buried layers and layers below.
What an incredible experience hiking through the Deering Estate fossil grounds. It was truly a privilege to be able to see the ancient history of Miami, which has been transformed by the pop culture. The raw and bare truth that is continuing to be discovered at the estate will soon become apparent to all, making historians question everything we have known up to today.
My experiences at the Deering Estate so far have been interesting, to say the least. My first time at the Deering Estate involved me getting lost on my way there, the evacuation of marine debris (which was then transformed into a beautiful wall of trash), and watching my professor jump into the water with manatees. My second Deering Estate visit involved a secret tour of ancient Tequesta remains, as well as my inability to control my bladder. This long hike proved to be too much for the amount of water I had consumed that day, leading to a very real and natural bathroom break on our trail. This is why I was not surprised that this trip to the Deering Estate would prove to be nothing less than exciting. Despite the many unforeseen events that occurred on this excursion (bees, spiders, holes, and lots of profanity), I definitely did not expect to come across a new term I had never heard before: Nature Deficit Disorder. Being a junior majoring in psychology, I thought I had heard just about every possible syndrome in the book. After listening to Jennifer (our tour guide) talk about her experience with this disorder, I realized just how strong an effect nature plays in our lives. Her love for the habitat and her willingness to take care of it to the best of her abilities was inspiring. I hope that one day, I find a career that I love as much as she loves hers. As the Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Thank you Jennifer.
As I walked away from the groomed grounds of the Deering Estates, I knew I was going to walk into my worst nightmare. All I saw were unfamiliar trees and plants all around me. I hiked up and down rocks while getting smacked in the face with tree branches and palm leaves. I was walking through very tight spaces with poisonous plants for what felt like an hour just to reach one destination. I complained the entire time and almost cried because of all the spiders and bees surrounding me. However, as I arrived at the famed historical site, I stopped worrying about my surroundings. I understood that at that moment I was a part of something bigger than myself. To learn that remains of animals, now extinct, were found in that one spot was incredible. As I held a piece of a 40,000-year-old mammoth tooth, I was shocked to think that such a majestic animal was once living only about 15 miles from my house. Being out of my comfort zone, deep in the wilderness, I was truly able to appreciate nature, its history, and its contribution to present day life.
PAC Fall 2018 Student Gallery from Cutler Fossil Site Hike at Deering Estate