We got up in the morning a few folks at a time. The small breakfast crew made banana pancakes, and, to our delight, were able to cook the frozen eggs! The rest of the day we worked on the group and individual projects. Unlike the previous two days, we didn’t have to lug gear into the forest to work on the group project. Instead, we clustered in the field lab. One of the instructors gave us a lecture on how to identify different groups of arthropods (more specifically, spiders and insects), then we sorted the insects by eye and, when we couldn’t see enough detail, we used microscopes. We were surprised by the plumy hairs of bees, and there were super tiny insects which looked like springtails, but were actually beetles! Some of us just really enjoyed using the microscopes, regardless of what organisms we were looking at. After we tallied our arthropods by taxon, bowl color, and habitat, we presented our data to the instructors who transcribed the data into a spreadsheet for analysis. After lunch, we dissected the results of our project during a group discussion where we also exercised statistical thinking. Subsequently, we spent the rest of the afternoon working on our individual projects, generating more data and conducting our analyses. Dinner was pretty darn funny. We had pizza-burritos, stir-fry, and pretty much literally everything in the fridge. Eggs. Ooh, yeah, we tried instant crème brulée and beef stroganoff. In the later evening we went into the forest for science meditation. When we got back to the station, a woman from Earth Watch discussed with us her research and we talked with the instructors about college. We were good and tired by the end of the day.
Impressions from the individual projects:
“Even though I didn’t get the results I had anticipated or results relevant to my original question, I still learned things from what I did observe. Flexibility is key in all things, including science!”
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I am proud to be able to say that I can identify the flower species in the riparian area, meadow, and forest. I wasn’t able to name a single flower species before I started my individual project.
My individual project might not have produced the most conclusive results, but it was nice to get a sampling of all the butterfly species, and just running through fields catching butterflies is really fun.
I was walking in the forest for my project when I came upon a female grouse. I watched her and listened to her clucking, when about a minute and a half later a juvenile flew up and scared the living bejeezus out of me! I continued to watch the birds, and a little while later about five or six grouslings flew out of the grass from all around me! Walking by yourself in the forest opens up so many experiences.
Impressions from the science meditation:
“During the meditation, I audibly said, ‘Wow,’ when I looked to the horizon and noticed the beautiful clouds in the sky.”
During the meditation at one point he said that we are carbon and that everything is carbon and then I imagined everything breaking down into molecules in my head, and it was so cool.
Why are the days going so fast, I just got here!
ES, EL, RK