By Suchan Vivatsethachai `20

Today was the last day of our TREX trip in Hawaii. We had been here for 2 weeks, but we did so many things that it felt like we had been there for months. Even on the last day, we did not let our precious time go to waste. Since our flight was in the evening, we decided to go canoeing on a two-row canoes. Nine of us and 3 instructors from Keauhou Canoe Club helped one another safely move the canoes through the water.

With our teamwork, we managed to go quite far from the shore within a short amount of time. The view was spectacular. We could even spot Maui Island, one of the Hawaii islands closest to the Big Island. Looking back to the Big Island, we could see the Mauna Loa Volcano, the widest mountain in the world.

View from the middle of the ocean

After canoeing, we went to a storage unit to sort out all the materials and samples we had collected during the past two weeks. We had to bring soil and corn samples back to MIT so TREXers could get more data for an analysis in 1.092 (Traveling Research Environmental eXperience: Fieldwork Analysis and Communication). We also packed things that would be useful for the next TREX group in the storage unit.

Afterward, we headed to Kona coffee farm and took a short tour about how to process coffee. The tour guide explained informatively about cherry picking, screening, and roasting. I ended up buying one box of chocolate-covered coffee beans to help me stay awake until the plane took off. We then went back to around our hotel and spent a last couple of hours we had left in Hawaii there. Finally, we drove to the airport and flew back to Boston!

Boarding a small plane in Kona International Airport

Every year, a group of MIT students and professors travel to the Big Island of Hawaii to gain fieldwork experience through TREX (Traveling Research Environmental EXperiences). The first TREX trip was held in 2000, and since launching has taken students on research activities in domestic and international settings. For more undergraduate opportunities, click here.