August 2, 2012 Farewell Tundra!
This is it!
Today was my last full work day in the tundra! It's been a great experience! Tomorrow, I'm cleaning out my desk at the lab, clearing things out of the kitchen, packing my things up, and then one final afternoon at the young basin site for one last go for me with the Ultra Portable Greenhouse Gas Analyzer.
I've become quite the expert in gas sampling and had developed a great system with Kim the last few weeks enabling us to graph gas emissions, take probe measurements, water sample, and even pull off the data from the SD memory cards. As you can see, teamwork is incredibly important in the field.
Barrow said goodbye in typical Barrow fashion - cold, overcast skies, 22 mph winds, and the occasional smattering of rain - as I worked away in the tundra thinking about my past 5 weeks.
I've learned so many important things about conducting research in the field.
Always have a back plan (such as a back up pH probe because the glass bulb broke during a reading measurement or an extra pen because the one I was using ran out of ink when I was recording the dissolve oxygen number).
Plan and pack your backpack the night before so you don't leave anything important at home (such as plastic bags for soil sampling or the memory card reader).
Be ready for all kinds of weather (like rainy and cold in the morning, but warm and mosquito-y in the afternoon).
And above all, have a good attitude!
I loved my time in Barrow and I'm feeling very nostalgic thinking about my upcoming departure on Saturday. I loved my research team; I can't believe I got so lucky to be chosen by them! We worked really hard, but we also managed to have fun (like great conversations and good laughs with each other, meeting other research teams, an occasional meal out, baking cookies, my polar bear plunge, Elliot playing air guitar on the tundra, and my last Barrow field trip - going to Joe's Museum)! I actually have too many great memories to list, but you get the picture.
What I think I liked best about this whole experience was really feeling like I contributed to the research; that I was an important member in helping the team reach the goal. I'm really looking forward to continuing to communicate with Elliot and Kim and I'm actually going to present with Dr. David Lipson, the principal investigator, at a teacher workshop in November; so my journey isn't over yet! There's a ton of good stuff to look forward to. So thanks Elliot Friedman and Kim Miller. Thanks PolarTREC!! And of course, thank you everyone for reading these journals!!
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