Tag Archives: field notes

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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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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The importance of recording everything: A book review

22 Feb

Field Notes on Science and Nature (ed. Michael R. Canfield) was recommended to me by a teacher a while back. It made loads of Best of 2011 lists, too, and for good reason — it’s a fascinating exploration of keeping field notes.

On the surface, this may not sound so interesting, but the book illuminates the approaches of several contributors spanning fields from anthropology to wildlife conservation, and it not only explains what sort of things they record, but why, and even what benefit there is in doing it one way instead of another. A great example is the chapters that alternately sing the praises of Polaroid instant film and of black-and-white sketches. Because each contributor makes a convincing case for his or her method of choice (which often involves explaining why another method should not be used), it can seem like a tangle of contradictions. But the wealth of perspectives is exactly why I found it valuable.

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