Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 6


 
Every net is equipted with sensors for data collection. Some also have sensors inside the net to account for light variation
Today was the first time I was back out in the field since last summer. It’s an advantage to be a lover of the heat on days like today that call for a hike into the forest in 90+ degrees wearing long pants. We went out 3 times, each for only a few hours and not too deep into the forest. I would call the day easy overall in comparison to last year’s work in the Miller Woods. No mile long hikes in, no leaches, no heavy equipment to carry, no duct taping shoes or waist bands!  I’ll take it!! J

Lupin Land!!!
We started out hiking out to the Lupin Fields, or what I called 'Lupin Land.' Essentially it is where we found the largest cache of viable lupin that we could harvest for the lab. We were cautious not to take so much that the plants couldn’t quickly recover. This was of special consideration with the heat of the day and the already weak condition of the plants.


The nets are tapped to bring the karners to the tops for counting


After harvesting, the team ranger took me to a sensor site to explain the system to me. There I came up with a fun idea for an activity for the general public that can be housed on the site and linked into by the ‘Causal Coast’ site- more on that later. 



Noel shows that being an ecologist is a hands-on job!


The team then sat in brain storm mode for a while as we considered how to improve the current housing mechanism of the field study portion. Several ideas have already been attempted and others are currently in prototype. The team wrapped up with a new model that we would begin testing today. I would point out that as I continue to work with more and more research teams I find that this is how the process flows. A general concept is developed and funded but until it goes into motion no one can say how functional the theory will actually flow. As a result there is a space of time that requires ingenuity, innovation, problem solving skills, and lots of creativity. People of envision a scientist as someone in a lab coat with a clip board when the reality is he or she is usually either behind a computer to process data or write a grant or working wondering through Menards looking for equipment to build the project and install it in the field or in the lab. That is to say, scientists are just as familiar with a hammer and screw driver, plus hard drive and drop box as they are with a beaker and incubator. 
A new prototype is field tested
For a final outing of the day the team went to the sites to check the current nets and prototypes along with attempting the new prototype. It was not successful and so the process begins again. J

Army tents are tested as another prototype in the field



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