Heard and McDonald Islands

Since this is my last blog I decided to do a Heritage Site with a famous name “McDonalds!” Australia has always been a place of intrest for me and so I knew I wanted to do a site located there what made it easier for my is that I work at a McDonalds back home. The site of Heard and McDonald Islands are located in the southern Indian Ocean. These Islands are sub-Antarctic volcanic islands that cover about 658,903 hectaares. Both islands are unique wilderness that has been undisturbed by humans.

One of the Islands, Heard , is dominated by Big Ben which is in an active volcano that rises to a height of 2,745 meters. It is largely covered by snow and glaciers as shown in the picture above. Monitoring climate change is an important thing when it comes to this island. The change in climate affects the glaciers faster than glaciers elsewhere. In recent decades these glaciers have flunctuated dramatically and have retreted significantly.

The second island , McDonalds island is much smaller than Heard Island covering only 100 of the hectares. It is surrounded by several smaller rocks and islands. The volcano located on this island recently became active after 75,00 year period of being inactive. Because of the eruption, the island grew two times in size.

These two islands passed certain criterias to become part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. Criteria viii is amongst one of them. This is because the islands conatin great examples of on-going geological processess that occur in an undisturbed enviroment. Another criteria being crtierion ix. This criteria is covered by these islands because they are outstanding examples of representing on-going ecological, biological processes. It is the only sub-Antartic island that is virtually free of introduced species and modifications by humans.  It makes way for ecolgical research investigating plant and animal species.

The integrity of this island is big since they are the least disturbed sub-Antartic islands. Both islands are high in wildnerness quality. There have been unknown impact of commericla fisheries even though commerical fishing is no permitted within the property. Heard Island’s remotness and such harsh climate have made it hard and nearly impossible for humans to live on. The McDonalds islands however have had about two brief visits. These islands have been well protected which makes it more atracrtive to visitors. Not many places are well protected as this which makes it more important to keep these islands the way they are without human interaction.



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With an Open Mind

Going into World Heritage at the end of January 2014 I admit that I was very close-minded when it came to other people’s heritage. I never thought there was much to it, and I never knew what it meant. In regards to the class, I imagined a lot different, I thought ethnicity. Honestly I didn’t realize the difference between culture, ethnicity, and heritage or why it mattered. I figured that if it didn’t involve me or where I came from it wasn’t important, but as I reflect, I don’t even know much about where I came from, or who did all the work for me to have such a great life. Turns out, every race, every culture, and every different heritage matters, and everyone is affected.

Recently there has been an ongoing issue in Africa, it has become widely known as the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign. To give some background about a month ago over 200 Nigerian school girls were kidnapped by a group of African terrorists trained by the Taliban (though not related) in the midst of their finals. After weeks have passed the girls #BringBackOurGirlshave not yet been rescued nor has there been an attempt. The terrorists have made it clear the girls will be used for human trafficking purposes, since they are useless otherwise. Young women studying to be chemists, doctors, and teachers deemed useless. If these young women are not recovered, a whole generation will be lost, a doctor who changes medicine, a chemist who creates a cure, and a teacher who educates students on the surrounding issues, all gone.

In eastern parts of the world men do not believe that women should be educated in any shape or form, their job is to be a wife, have babies, and make a happy home for their husbands. This story may sound somewhat similar, a while back a young girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot by tMalalaerrorists belonging to the Taliban and has since become an activist, after being shot in her head she made a full recovery and vowed to never be silenced again. The most important thing to do is getting up and recovering. There are endless  “what-if’s” and  “maybes” but if these ideas aren’t put into perspectives, what is the point in going on in this world? If those girls are truly useless, what is the big deal? If those girls are just girls living in a third world country who cares? I do. Neither I nor you know if one of those girls can cure cancer or invent something life altering, but it’s important to treat them like they can. As privileged students we don’t stop to think, what if I was abducted with 200 other classmates during a final by a group of deadly terrorists, thrown into a human trafficking ring and nobody cares to save me? Sounds dramatic, but that is exactly what happened to those girls.

It is important that we all realize how indefinitely intertwined we are with the rest of the world, if one person is being oppressed and suffering, so are 50 other people. Whether it is one person in Japan or another in Utah reaching out to those alike and different needs to change from a random act of kindness, to just being a friendly neighbor. When one hurts, we all hurt. This class has opened my eyes to the different parts of the world that have suffered or are still struggling today. I cannot thank the educators out there enough for not only feeding my brain and allowing myself to change time after time, but also for helping the others, as Malala said “Education is our basic right.”

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Shark Bay, Australia

Australia is one of the most popular places in the world, known mostly for its marine ecosystems. Australia has many exotic sites but one that really stands out is Shark Bay, located west of Australia. The popular Australian site is populated with hundreds of different species, ranging marine life to reptiles and amphibians. In fact, Shark Bay is most known for the following things: richest sea grass in the world, dugong (also known as “sea cow”) population, and the colonies of stromatolites. Aside from its high tourism, Shark Bay has inhabitants of its own; the population is just under 1,000.

Shark Bay was inscribed to the World Heritage List in 1991, although it’s beauty and popularity is evident, the site was recognized for its stromatolites population- also known as a “natural phenomenon” of the site. The stromatolites colonies are an amazing addition to the bay because they are the oldest known form of life in the world. The wild life within Shark Bay is stupendous, specialist have recorded over 250 bird species, 100 reptile and amphibians, and hundreds of fish species. Another important factor of the bay’s significance is that it is the home of 5 endangered species, which are maintained on Bernier and Dorre Island just off the coast of the site. The endangered species are: boogie (or burrowing bettong), rufuos hare-wallaby, banded hare-wallaby, shark bay mouse, and western barred bandicoot. It is told that human interference with the habitats may have added to the likelihood of species endangerment, being that new species, such as cats and foxes, were introduced to the islands of Shark Bay.

The photograph above is Dorre Island, off the coast of  Shark Bay and is one of the two islands on which the endangered species live.

The photograph above is Dorre Island, off the coast of
Shark Bay and is one of the two islands on which the
endangered species live.

This is a shark bay mouse, one of the five endangered species taking refuge in the Shark Bay area

This is a shark bay mouse, one of the five endangered species taking refuge in the Shark Bay area









The economy of Shark Bay relies heavily on three main industries: fishing, pastoralism (sheep, goat, and cattle grazing), and tourism. Although tourism is a major part of the economy, it is being carefully managed in regards with the recreation activities involving the water, such as boating. Ever since the site was nominated and granted to be on the world heritage list, reservation and restoration efforts began. Project Eden began in 1991 and is still continuing today. The projects main goals are to remove feral animals that were brought in, reintroduce native wildlife, and to expand their research, tourism and education. Their By expanding their research, the specialist will have more incentives to educate their locals and will have the ability to manage their tourism more effectively.

The picture is demonstrating the efforts being made for Project Eden, reintroducing the native animals, in this care the Banded hare-wallaby.

The picture is demonstrating the efforts being made for Project Eden, reintroducing the native animals, in this care the Banded hare-wallaby.

Another example of the efforts made for the reservation of Shark Bay environments.

Another example of the efforts made for the reservation of Shark Bay environments.










In other to be added to the world heritage list, the Australian government and Western Australia had to reassure the committee that they would take responsibility of managing and maintaining the site. Shark Bay is not only big on its diversity of species but also big in size, which we can imagine would be tricky to manage as well as they have. In 1997, the Australian government signed an agreement to continue their obligations in regards to managing the site. The government has given the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Community the responsibility of creating and executing plan to manage the site. The department is in charge of maintaining 2.2 million hectors, 70% marine ecosystems, and over 1500 km of coastline. In order to successfully manage their site, some things have to be sacrificed- such as land used for pastoralizing. Even though pastoralizing is important to the economy, the department has to give priority to the preservation of the land.

This is an image of the peninsulas and lands of Shark Bay.

This is an image of the peninsulas and lands of Shark Bay.

Australia is a beautiful place with thousands of activities and places to see and if you have the privilege of visiting, you should definitely make an effort to visit Shark Bay. Its remarkable beauty and species should be enough to convince anyone of that but also by going you can receive knowledge and experience something wonderful. Being that it is the home of endangered species, who knows how much longer we will have to possibly get to appreciate the animals.

Here is a tourist feeding a dolphin in the shore of Shark Bay, one of the many activities available on the site.

Here is a tourist feeding a dolphin in the shore of Shark Bay, one of the many activities available on the site.

This is a picture of the popular stromatolites in the Shark Bay waters.

This is a picture of the popular stromatolites in the Shark Bay waters.

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My Own Heritage Place

 During the period of this class, learning about Heritage and all the amazing places around the world with so much history, made me wonder of my own heritage. After thinking about my life and discussing with different family members, I came to the conclusion that my grandparent’s house in Mexico is my heritage place. This place contains everything from my childhood memories to my current memories. My grandparents house is the pace that I feel at home and that allows me to connect with my past and bring alive all the experiences that I had.


Ever since I can remember, I have always loved going to visit my grandparents. When I was little, I would spend my entire summer at their house, playing in their backyard while getting wet in the rain. One of my obsessions was to built canals. I would collect as much water from the rain as I could to then play inside and make figures with the mud. Then, when the sun would go down, a nice refreshing dinner would be waiting for me at the dinning table. I could never compare the feeling that my grandmas cooking provoked on me.

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Due to the amount of time I spend at their house, I was giving my own room that was mostly my game room, since I only live there temporarily. After dinner, my grandpa would take me to bed and read me old bedtime stories until I fall asleep. I would also play with wood cars that my grandpa built for me and I would imagine myself as a truck driver.

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One of my favorite parts of the house was the living room. Although it had no television, I was able to admire paintings from family members, pictures of my entire family, and unique decorations that my grandma would make. Everything was always in place and really clean.

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Now, as a grown up, I still enjoy the rain in the backyard, yet I feel weird building canals and getting wet inside them. However, I am still able to remember those days by seeing the tools that I would use and the toys that I would play with. My grandma has manage to maintain all these valuable articles that one day where a very important part of me and the room where my indoor fun took place. Not mentioning that the entire house still looks the same, conserving all the detailing intact.


This place will always be part of my life. Future generations will be able to imagine my childhood life and will help maintain the history alive. This is why I consider this house my own heritage place.

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Stranger Than Fiction

Giong 2

The Vietnamese heritage is rich and diverse culture, but mysterious as well. Although I celebrate holidays such as Lunar New Year and Moon festivals, they are mostly associated with the entire Asian culture rather than the Vietnamese culture itself. So I decided to find anything related to Vietnam under UNESCO’s website. What I found was a strange festival called the Gióng festival which takes place at the Phù Ðông and Sóc temples.


It is a festival celebrated annually in the capital of Vietnam Hanoi. Every spring before a rice harvest, the Vietnamese community would honor the mythical hero, god, and saint Thánh Gióng. This hero was responsible for defending Vietnam from foreign enemies and worshipped as a god of harvest, peace, and family prosperity. The festival honors Thánh Gióng by recreating the famous battle that took place by riding a white horse and performing flag dances. There is also a belief that if it rains after the festival it is considered a blessing from Thánh Gióng for the harvest.


There is also a folk lore of Thánh Gióng that is associated with the festival. The folk lore tells the story of how Thánh Gióng was born when his mother stepped on a giant’s foot print and how he defeated the foreign enemies. The story does seem unbelievable and cannot be the reason why the festival was inscribed on to UNESO’s list.


The festival was inscribed due to being an intangible cultural heritage of humanity for passing down the performances for thousands of years. The flag masters, drum masters, and gong masters are trained in accordance to the regulations of the past. Not only that the festival also represents the Vietnamese community morals of family, the nation, and peace.


Although the festival is based on a mythical hero that is based on fiction, it does demonstrate how the Vietnamese used oral stories by establishing performances, which have been passed down to different generations. This has also reflected on me by helping me find my heritage, which was lost, but rediscovered as a new experience.


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Home Comes First

After attending this class, it has truly taught me the importance of the heritage sites that exist in our very home, California. With that being said the first on my list, which I am sure I share with many, is Yosemite. I have been attending this school for two years now and have still yet to drive the hour journey up to our own beautiful world heritage site. I went as a kid, but I am positive the experience will be brand new. 


     However, before this I would like to go see the courthouse in Merced (Merced is not in WordPress’s dictionary) as it was mentioned in class to be worth noticing. According to its web site it has been here since 1875. From a quick search I can tell it is definitely worth noting as a place to see.


After seeing this the one on my list is way up north to the Redwood Forests. As a Californian I feel it hits equivalent importance to the Yosemite National forest. It has been a pleasure learning about a plethora of locations along with enough details to understand the importance of their history and the battle many face today. While I still would not visit Afghanistan for the Bamiyan Buddha site yet, I do want to see it one day. Aside from that this class has taught me about world heritage sites and sites that are not on it but remain equally important and worth noting in future travels. 

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Museums and Heritage

Museums and heritage have an odd connection. Although museums do preserve objects of historical significance they are often seen as detrimental in terms of heritage. By removing an object from its natural setting and separating it from its rightful owners a strong disconnect is created. A piece of their heritage is being taken away, but to some museums are one of the greatest methods of preserving and sharing noteworthy objects.

This view that museums are significant places in themselves may be slightly imperialist in nature seeing as many items housed by various museums, such as the British Museum, were obtained as countries were expanding and colonizing.


The British Museum

Propelling the idea that museums are beneficial is in itself beneficial. Museums increase tourism, which is often a key way countries generate revenue.


The Elgin Marbles. Taken from one of the pediments of the Parthenon.

There is little incentive for a museum to return the items they display. As mentioned, the British Museum has a variety of items belonging to an assortment of different cultures. The museum holds a relief from Persepolis, the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles, and there has been dispute over the museum holding these items. There have been various attempts to have these items returned to their rightful homes, and yet these items remain in the museum.


A Zuni (Native American) shrine. Some sacred artifacts, such as those depicted here, have been taken by European museums and the Zuni tribe is attempting to have the items returned, but success seems bleak.

Although keeping these items in a museum and away from their rightful owners is detrimental to those who originally owned the items, it may be beneficial for the general public. Some items kept in museums today are seen as sacred by the cultures that own them, so if some of these items were not kept in museums there is a strong possibility that most of these items would not be available to the general public, and this is the biggest problem with the issue.

Museums inform the public about various cultures and their heritage. By removing items, you prevent the public from learning about these cultures.

Museums may be bad for specific groups and their heritage, but they may just be equally beneficial to the general public.

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