Week 6 is over, leaving only a quarter of the REEU Program left to experience. Much like the entire summer, this past week was full of great experiences and learning. Emily and I worked on designing a tri-fold poster to use as a visual at our next extension event. This Saturday we will be attending “The Wabash Riverfest” event in West Lafayette, where we will use our poster board and a quick interactive game of “Butternut Buckets” to inform people about our research and work with Butternut. We are very proud of our Butternut poster (to the right) and we hope the public will gain a lot from it.
This past week was also full of plenty of field experience, including my first ever opportunity to strap on some waders and help the “Streams” group collect fish from their nets. As we expected, there were more than just fish in the nets. We worked as a team of eight people to remove 4 gigantic snapping turtles that had found their way into the fish nets. It was probably one of the most stressful and simultaneously entertaining experiences of the entire summer. Thankfully everyone made it out with all ten fingers and the turtles were safety released back into the ponds where they came from. Some of the fish were not so lucky, as they served as a constant snack for the snapping turtles trapped in the nets.
I also went out in the field with the other three research groups (Herps, Mammals, and Birds) to help them deploy clay frogs, retrieve audio and camera recorders, and conduct vegetation surveys. It is always interesting and exciting to see what the other groups are working on and rewarding to make their lives a little easier with an extra set of hands to help. It also gave me a stronger appreciation for their research and all the work they have been doing this summer. Attempting to measure the DBH (diameter at breast height) of this massive “ultra mega jumbo monster hulk” tree (see picture below) was definitely a highlight of my week.
Next week is a big week for Emily and me! We have the incredible opportunity of attending a “Butternut Coordination Workshop” held here at Purdue University on Monday and Tuesday. This conference will be attended by Butternut researchers, enthusiasts, and experts from around the world. I am looking forward to listening to the speakers and getting an opportunity to network with people who know so much about the field we have been working in all summer. It will be an incredibly beneficial and fascinating experience to be a part of.
Updates to come!