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On visual assessment

29 May

Some of you wonder what I do with all my time at school and why I am always coming home wet and/or dirty. I’ve vaguely explained that it involves plenty of data collection, but I’ve always thought a serious explanation would be tedious at best. But you’re in luck, dear readers, because today I have lots of photos.

My classmates and I were lucky enough to go on an overnight camping trip to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest for silviculture lab. Lots of things were barbecued, of course, and someone may have even carved initials into a tree (for shame!) but we also spent a considerable amount of time running up and down hills at the Wind River Experimental Forest.

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Adventures with sawdust

22 May

Because I have a completely awesome instructor, my Timber Harvesting & Products class gets to take the best field trips ever. We recently traveled to the McDonald-Dunn Forest near Corvallis to observe the Oregon State University student logging crew in a thinning operation, and then went to the historic, zero-automation Hull-Oakes mill in Dawson for a tour, and finally to Freres Brothers mill in Lyons to observe a state-of-the-art automated operation. Thank goodness our instructor is energetic and excited about putting these trips together.

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The voluntary incarceration of attending grad school

28 Apr

Your faithful blog author has an admission to make that you may consider funny: Conventions freak me out.

I find them distressing, vexing and worrisome in the extreme. This probably sounds ridiculous. You see, conventions and symposia trigger my anxieties about a far more common problem — the fear of graduate school. I’m writing this post because I returned yesterday from a conference that has basically sent my midbrain red-lining.  And more importantly, because most of you reading this are students coming to crossroads just like I am.

So let’s pick my panicky heart to pieces in the name of science, shall we?

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Why I have not been writing: Tons of awesome field work!

17 Mar

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been absent from my duties on this blog for a couple weeks. But never fear! I have only been digging my way out from under an avalanche of term projects and exams. It will all be over Wednesday, so I figured I’d take some time to post today and show you what I’ve been up to. This also means I have not been able to prepare the interview I have in store, but judging by the response I got to my field notes post, you’ll enjoy this more, anyway!

I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been working on various term projects. My friends might say the projects have been working on me, but that’s another post. We gave presentations for GIS and silviculture this week, with watersheds on Monday. Since my field notes post dealt entirely with our watersheds project, I’ll share that first, with elements of our GIS projects thrown in.

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Quick note

5 Mar

Hey there, readers. You probably didn’t know that I was supposed to have a new blog post up today, but about half of everything left to turn in for the whole term was due today. So, I’ll be taking this week off to get a little rest. Hopefully, I’ll have a great interview up next week. Stay tuned!

My shameful response to “Field Notes on Science and Nature”

28 Feb

In light of my recent review and a chat with a friend, I’ve decided to open my own field notebook to scrutiny. So, dear readers, I submit for your viewing pleasure my current and most decrepit field notebook (cover at right)!

It achieved its awesome state through rain, snow, mud, wind, river water, tree pathogen and the cruel stompings of a certain vice-chairman. Watershed Processes class may be the final nail in the coffin for my stoic No. 311 level.

Aside from the sorry state of the cover, I will also show you the sorry state of its insides! I’m working on a term project in the Young Creek watershed that investigates whether a nearby clearcut has affected the creek’s water quality, velocity, and stream channel characteristics. The preliminaries involve everything from soil tests and vegetation surveys to streambed profiles and reach maps — most of which I’ll post below.

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If you only knock long enough and loud enough…

11 Jan

Well, I’m feeling a little discouraged today.

We’ve run into some difficulty with our SAF student chapter/campus club. The process of founding it seemed relatively straightforward (if heavy on the paperwork), but it has proven to be ridiculously difficult. Despite an awesome outpouring of support from the local and national SAF offices, we have found a disheartening lack of backing here on our own campus.

Most of the trouble stems from the Student Activities office. Like many other departments at our school, they seem terribly understaffed. Under these circumstances, it comes as no surprise that I’ve never had a call returned by them, or that it often takes weeks to get a response to an e-mail.

This wouldn’t matter to me, except that we’ve got a Bonafide Problem™!

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