“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,” said Albert Einstein. People are born from, and reside in, nature. Despite this conspicuous fact, people often miss the life around us, surrounded by thick gray cement and asphalt. Among the routines of campus life, a special group of students in Korea University (KU) started their search for traces of life. Meet the protagonist, YeolDooRooDal (YDooRooD), a research society in KU.
To explain our activities, I first need to clarify about the meaning of our name,” said Park
Si Hyung (’14, Life Sciences), the current president of YDooRooD. As its Korean name may imply, YDooRooD aims to seek for life on earth for 12 (YeolDoo) months, everywhere (DooRoo). Following its name, YDooRooD has been continuing to study various aspects of life in many places, ranging from KU campus to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Subjects of research also vary, from miniscule fungus to bulky mammals.
▲ YDooRooD’s president Park Si Hyung. Photographed by Kim Yoon Ji.
Not many students would be able to imagine the wildlife in KU, but according to Park there is much more to explore. The main sources of research come from Green Field and mountains nearby, as well as the College of Medicine and Life Sciences buildings. “Even in the Liberal Arts campus, woodpeckers and weasels were found,” said Park. “Most of the species discovered are bird species. We could even discover some rare species including brown-eared bulbuls in Green Field.”
YDooRooD’s history goes back to four years ago. It first started as the DMZ research society in the Environmental Science and Ecological Engineering. Then, it changed the direction of activity and name as well since last year. Expanding their realm of activity to outside of DMZ, YDooRooD began to actively explore various places. “We have gathered to deny superficial biology in textbooks, and pursue vivid ecology by focusing on theoretical and actual practices,” said Park.
YDooRooD does various types of ecological activities, both regularly and irregularly. Weeklyand monthly activities include searches for wildlife in KU campuses, and in nearby mountains such as Bukhansan, Gaeunsan and Bugaksan. There are also regular seminars, which Park refers to as “the voluntary study that keeps YDooRooD going.” Members get to express and exchange their ideas and findings on subjects of their interest freely. This is done in a variety of forms, such as presentations, instant explorations, documentary screenings and even streams of consciousness. There is also exploration of the Western Civilian Control Zone through the DMZ Research Institute.
One of the annual and semi-annual activities are summer and winter season field trips. “It is written as an exploration and read as a field trip. It is written as a field trip and read as a conference,” Park said playfully. “We go to places such as Seocheon National Institute of Ecology, where alcohol is scarce while ecology encounters are abundant.” Park also explained that in such places, members conduct explorations as well as reflection on past activities, reorganizing the future directions of YDooRooD. Other activities include general seminars open for everyone of all majors, and spontaneous, liberal explorations among members.
Despite its relatively short history, YDooRooD’s has a number of achievements since its founding. As its activities mainly focus on taking records, most of their achievements are in form of numerous photos and papers of wildlife. It has recorded wildlife hidden inside KU campus by conducting gross vegetation research in KU at the Western Civilian Control Zone. YDooRooD has also participated in the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, emphasizing the importance of nature at the DMZ and asserting its registration as transboundary biosphere reserves.
When asked about some memorable or rewarding experiences during his years in YDooRooD, Park first brought out a surprisingly perilous moment when a boar came out of nowhere during exploration, which could have even threatened his life. “Other than that, I should say that the explorations themselves are precious and meaningful events,” said Park. “We get to investigate from around 5 A.M. to 2 P.M. mostly. It is always rewarding when weekly studies and explorations are over.”
“Matching YDooRooD’s goals, we plan to become a more accessible society,” Park explained ambitiously about future plans of YDooRooD. YDooRooD will expand its realm of activities to introduce wildlife as much as possible. To begin with, Park was planning on producing an annual collection of YDooRooD’s periodical seminars, and also increasing the number of exploration sites. “From this year, we will move out of KU campus and explore other various places. As a start, we are expecting collaboration with Ewha Woman’s University’s wild bird research society,” Park explained.
Indeed, members of YDooRooD are seeing more by looking into nature. They cover the most important, ubiquitous yet easily forgotten one—ecology, which keeps life going. Year by year YDooRooD makes progress, continuously working on betterments. For those who wish to understand better through the eyes of nature, YDooRooD is always open.
▲ 1 An Indian lettuce flower. Provided by YDooRooD Facebook page.
2 Members of YDooRooD on exploration. Provided by YDooRooD Facebook page.
3 A squirrel. Provided by YDooRooD Facebook page.
4 Cranes flying. Provided by YDooRooD Facebook page.
Contact: Park Si Hyung (010-9541-1331)
Application Method: Through Google Docs, annually. Applicants need to submit papers on self-introduction and episodes related to ecology. Afterwards, final members are selected by interviews.