July 19, 2012 Student Research – Lindsey Parkinson and Dylan Broderick
The university students of the Polaris Project each work on independent projects. Periodically, I will share the stories of these remarkable young people.
Lindsey Parkinson: Stop and Smell the Flora
If you see a researcher putting a plant in a ziplock bag and carefully sliding it down the inside of her boot, you have found Lindsey Parkinson. One of the friendliest people I have met in years, Lindsey never seems to tire of the question, “What’s this flower?”
A naturalist at heart, Lindsey’s project is to develop a guide to the plant life around the Northeast Science Station. However, she plans on including any of the fauna (animal life) we encounter as well. With the amazing array of seasonal flowers that have progressed in the last three weeks, and the mosses, trees, and shrubs in this area, this is no small task. Her final project will include a spreadsheet with searchable fields for different plant attributes.
On our first day at Cherskiy, Lindsey found a rather large spider while we were working in the forest. She promptly put it on the arm of her sweater and asked me to take a picture of it – definitely the type of curiosity that doesn’t run from opportunity! My photo was definitely out of focus. Luckily for all of us who will benefit from her guide, she is an outstanding photographer, as shown by the photo below that she took of a different spider carrying a blue egg sack.
This fall, Lindsey will return to Western Washington University for her senior year, where she has a double major in Environmental Science and Environmental Education.
Returning for her second summer with the Polaris Project, Dylan is a spring graduate from Clark University where she is returning to complete her master’s degree this coming year.
Check out the picture below! What are these? If you said Chipotle Burritos, you obviously haven’t been eating in Siberia (where the food is even better!).
Actually, those foil wrapped lumps are soil samples that Dylan was collecting at Pleistocene Park on July 17 as part of her research. As a geography graduate student specializing in Geographic Information Systems (using satellite information), Dylan has been taking soil samples and analyzing them for a variety of parameters. She is working on ways to correlate her samples with satellite imagery, so as to extrapolate from her sampling of small areas to larger plots of land. This becomes important as it would be impossible to sample everywhere.
I worked several days with Dylan while drilling permafrost cores with Russian scientists. With her positive outlook, quick smile, and persistent work ethic, she was an outstanding ambassador for the Polaris Project.
Stay curious my friends! - Mark Paricio
Don’t forget, you can follow the blogs of the students on the Polaris Project with me at: http://www.thepolarisproject.org.