Week three has officially ended! It was a busy week as we officially started working on our research projects. Every morning, we have breakfast as a team. Around 9 AM, we arrive at the Wright Center and everyone goes straight to prepping their equipment for the day and preparing for the long day out in the forest. The room is usually filled with the smell of bug spray and everyone chatting up their plans for the day. This week was a special one, just because we got to meet some high school students and spent time talking about our research projects with them and teaching them a little bit about what we do. I enjoyed the little time we had with the high school students and witnessing them explore what a path in the forestry and natural resources field could look like. Some had expressed some serious interest in the field and some learned that it might not be for them-- which is totally okay. You never know what you like or dislike, unless you actually try it out. I’m glad they had the chance to explore for themselves.
For my research project, Garret (my partner for this summer) and I have been working super hard to get our transects set up in preparation for our bird surveys! We will also be conducting vegetation and invertebrate surveys along the transects. There were a lot of poison ivy, stinging nettle, and thorns we had to walk through in order to set up our transects. We had a total of 30 transect points that we had attempted to set up. We ran into some difficulties along the way. Some of our randomized transect points were impossible to get to, whether they were in the middle of a pond or ended up along a steep ravine. We ended up having to drop a couple of points and we even had to create new points in order to make up for the points that were inaccessible. It was a tough week. We were frustrated, exhausted, and a bit discouraged at some points. However, we accepted all the difficulties and kept trying anyway. Science has never been easy for me-- but I enjoy learning from all the failures. I may not know everything in the field but I do know that I am learning more and more everyday.
On the bright side, I got to see a bunch of creatures while I was out on the field. There were a ton of Spring Peeper frogs, spiders, a cute little tree frog napping, and a garter snake! I’ve never been a snake person but I finally had enough courage to hold one.
A haiku inspired by the long mornings/afternoons out in the forests:
Boots sink in the mud
Mosquitoes and stinging nettle attack our skin
Things we do for science