I have never been much of a writer, and this past week all seems to be like a blur in my mind. With that, I have decided not to muster up a conjugation of letters to form a weekly report of events, but rather to tell you the story of this past week through movies. Many people that I talk to about Turtle Team have a hard time understanding what field work is like, so maybe these references will help paint the field-work picture that makes it so wonderful!

Forbes Day 1:     5:00-7:00 Midnight Run 1988

7:00-8:00 Scooby Doo 2002  **Happy 20th Anniversary to this phenomenal film**

8:00-10:00 The Last of the Mohicans 1992

10:00-12:00 The Thing 1982

12:00-2:00 Tommy Boy 1995

2:00-5:00 Deep Blue Sea 1999

5:00-9:00 Sleeping Beauty 1959


Forbes Day 2:    7:00-9:00 Gone in 60 Seconds 2000

9:00-10:00 The Revenant 2015

10:00-12:00 The Great Escape 1963

12:00-2:00 Jurassic Park 1993

2:00-4:00 Smokey and the Bandit 1977

4:00-6:00 The Martian 2015

6:00-9:00 Lilo and Stitch 2002


Nachusa:   5:00-8:00 Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift 2006

8:00-10:00 Gladiator 2000

10:00-12:00 Elf 2003 (specifically doctor scene)

12:00-3:00 Rush 2013

3:00-5:00 Ender’s Game (novel version)

5:00-9:00 Wizard of Oz 1939



I don’t want to insult the reader on any of these references, but I realize that some of them might not be as easy to understand. So, I have generously provided you with a cheat guide below:

Midnight Run is a movie with our Italian God Robert De Niro spending a lot of time in transportation vehicles which is synonymous to our field work travel schedule. The Scooby Doo movie is an artistic piece that we are blessed to have in our lifetime. I am using it here to describe getting the Turtle Dogs ready to solve their everyday mystery of the hidden turtles. The Last of the Mohicans’s Daniel Day Lewis is what I channel internally when we are wandering through the woods and running through the grass. The Thing is mentioned (for those familiar with the movie) specifically for the blood test scene where they have the blood of the thing and Russel Wilson performs a sterile blood test. We were doing blood draws during that time in Forbes, but the scene felt right. We decided not to camp, so we drove back, and I felt a lot like David in the car of Tommy Boy trying to survive our trip back to the school. Deep Blue Sea is for all of the laboratory scenes and research. That’s basically what it looks like at the University of Illinois but without the sharks. Sleeping Beauty is the perfect choice because I am personally exhausted after a  long day of field work.

Gone in 60 Seconds is a sick movie about driving fast. Dr. Laura was leading the cars that day, and we left a little late, so this movie was perfect as we raced (within the speed limit 😉 ) back to Forbes for day two. The Revenant is a timepiece movie basically about walking through the woods. Leonardo DiCaprio gets mauled by a bear, though, and while there were no bears, I did sort of feel like I got hit by one during our hike through the woods. The Great Escape is about prisoners escaping from Nazi Germany and fleeing to ally-land in Europe. I love the scenery of this movie, and walking through the woods is rather Great Escape vibes. Jurassic Park was chosen to represent our clinical work at the turtle site. Turtles are kind of like dinosaurs, right? Smokey and the Bandit, another car movie to represent our long, adventurous drive back to campus. Matt Damon’s the Martian is for all of our lab work, and Carly and I basically living in the WEL lab (our spaceship) throughout the summer. Lilo and Stitch is me channeling my inner Lilo lying on the floor facing the ceiling blasting Elvis. No words. Just lying down.

By this point, I feel like you can imagine why Tokyo Drift begins our trip to Nachusa. We drove a lot. The Gladiator reference actually belongs to Dr. Laura. She can explain it to you. I had Elf on my mind and specifically chose it for the time he goes to the doctor with his dad to get a DNA test. Buddy was all over the place and was not the easiest patient, similar qualities to our little ornate box turtle friends that don’t always make the best choices. Rush is one of my favorite movies about cars. It’s Formula One, but I really like the film. You should watch it. Ender’s Game (the novel, not the movie) is what I feel like is happening when I count cells with hemocytometers, so that was only fitting as I was on hemocytometer duty after coming back from Nachusa. The Wizard of Oz is our last movie to sum up the Nachusa trip because I feel asleep right when I got home, and Turtle Team feels like a dream!