How many words is a fieldwork picture worth?

One of the current hot topics regarding human social trends is the use of social media platforms to document our lives, especially in terms of photos. Why not just live in the moment? You can take experiences with you, but you can’t take photos! These are just a couple of the common mindsets out there. I’m not particularly sure where I fall on this spectrum. I love taking photos, and I do upload quite a…

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Yes, those boring safety training sessions are important

Dispatches from the field is happy to welcome Katie Grogan, a postdoctoral fellow to share a post this week about a scary field safety lesson! Check out the end of the post for more about Katie. The second scariest moment of field work I ever experienced happened basically on campus, exactly one mile from our lab and office. Caught in the mist net. Photo by JRM. Some people may argue that catching sparrows in downtown…

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What science literacy means to us

Science rules! And reading rocks! September 18 – 24th 2017 marks the second annual Science Literacy Week in Canada. But what is science literacy? The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) defines scientific literacy as “the ability to engage with science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen.” To us here at Dispatches from the Field, promoting scientific literacy means being able to effectively communicate and share the excitement of science…

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Squirrel Chatter

This week on Dispatches from the Field, we welcome Sarah Westrick, a Ph. D. student at University of Michigan who shares her experiences at Squirrel Camp! For more about Sarah, check out her bio at the end of the post.  As a biologist, I’m enamored with nature. Learning more about the natural world around us is what drew me to the field, and biological fieldwork provides some amazing opportunities for me to connect with the…

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Barren, desolate, magical, rugged, and peaceful: 9 days of labour and laughs in the tundra

This week Dispatches from the field are very excited to welcome a guest post co-written by a professor’s wife and 14 year old son when they went to the tundra to help with fieldwork. It is very rare that we have someone under the age of 20 contributing to our blog! For more about Paul, Anne, and their son Louis, check out the end of this post! Finally, this is it!  After all the preparations,…

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But first, let me (remember to) take a selfie

When exploring the recent trends of #ScientistsWhoSelfie and #ScientistInHabitat in the science communication Twitterverse, I realize I might belong to the #ScientistsWhoDontSelfie group.  In fact, maybe even the #ScientistsWhoDon’tTakePicturesAtAll group. As a biologist who gets to go to some really cool places, I always love to share how beautiful those places really are. There’s only one slight problem: I have trouble remembering to take pictures. You can describe a place using words but when a…

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Pulling a Jane Goodall

This week, Dispatches from the Field is excited to welcome guest blogger Stacey Hollis.  A field biologist turned communicator, Stacey shares some details of her time in the field – and also what led to her decision to leave the field and pursue journalism.  For more about Stacey, check out her bio at the end of the post. I like to say I “pulled a Jane Goodall”. After more than five years of working in…

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Why we need more than science

This week, Dispatches from the Field is excited to feature a guest post from Dr. Laura Coristine.  In her post, Laura shares a bit about her early passion for working with one of the most charismatic megafauna out there: wolves.  To learn more about Laura, check out her bio at the end of the post. My passion for science started with wolves. As an 11 year old I read every book on the topic that…

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It only took one run

This week, Dispatches from the Field is excited to welcome Scott Lynch, a Master’s Candidate at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, to share how his love for field biology (with sharks!) started. There are few experiences more unnerving than being told you have to run off a boat, up a ramp, and through a parking lot while carrying a 3-foot shark in your arms. I peered through the hot August Virginian sun, eyeing the obstacles along…

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Beggars can’t be choosers

My supervisor has always told me that a good field crew runs on its stomach.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but as a veteran of many field seasons in many different places, I personally have to agree with her.  When I’m in the field, an excessive amount of my time is spent thinking about lunch or dinner. When it comes to eating in the field, you have to take the good with bad.  On…

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