Dressing like a woman

There’s an interesting phenomenon anyone who has spent time in a university science department has probably noticed: the epidemic of the vanishing women. If you walk into an undergraduate lab or lecture hall, many of the seats will be filled by women. If you look at the graduate students in a science department, there will still be lots of women – but maybe not quite as many. If you consider the post docs in that…

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Dispatches from 2016

Well, another year has come and gone. 2016 took us lots of places and was filled to the brim with adventures in the field. We started the year off chasing the mighty elf owl in Arizona, and followed up with talk of butterflies and bats.  Our first story from Ecuador then surfaced – Alpaca my bags – but we didn’t stay there long as we headed right back to Canada – this time to check out some…

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Strategies to find and grow the smallest possible plant

We are so excited to welcome Emily Morris to the blog today! Emily is doing an MSc at Ryerson University in Toronto, and will tell us all about her adventures doing fieldwork for her Undergraduate thesis. For more about Emily, see the end of this post.  My undergraduate thesis project provided me with the mission to find the smallest possible plant of about 50 different species in the Kingston area. This task follows a particular,…

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Protecting the Canadian Galapagos

“Our culture is born of respect, and intimacy with the land and sea and the air around us. Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii. The living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that our heritage is passed on to following generations.”                               …

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A Thanksgiving meal, right out of the field

We are so excited to welcome Jennifer MacMillan back to the blog today. Earlier in 2015, Jennifer told us about her time spent on exchange in New Zealand. Now she is back, and this time tells us a rather appropriately-timed story about enjoying a Thanksgiving meal, right from the field. Happy Thanksgiving to Jennifer, and all of our American readers/posters! We are so thankful for all of you. For more about Jennifer, see the end of…

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Cold comfort

Light raindrops pattered against the tarp stretched above my head.  Deep inside my tank top, t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket, I shivered.  The damp cold of the day had made its way insidiously through my layers of clothing, freezing me from the inside out – and we had only been sitting here for two hours, meaning we had at least six more to go.  I sighed, resigning myself to a(nother) cold, clammy, uncomfortable day.…

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Dispatch from the jungle

We are very excited to welcome Dr. Alice Boyle back as a guest poster today. In her previous post, Alice shared some of her adventures from her doctoral fieldwork in Central American, and this week she takes us back to the Caribbean slopes of Costa Rica.  For more about Alice, check out her bio at the end of the post. In 2004, I spent a year doing field work on the wet, Caribbean slope of Costa Rica.…

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Stranger things have happened in Wire Fence field

Seven years. I have spent seven years doing fieldwork in Wire Fence field, and just last weekend, I collected my final data from that site. Next year the field is set to be bush-hogged and that will mark the end of my time at the site. I wanted to take a moment today to write a bit about the wonderfully beautiful and endlessly frustrating Wire Fence field. Wire fence field is a beautiful field site,…

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“We’ll be singing…”

This week’s Dispatch comes from guest blogger Haley Kenyon, who offers a valuable bit of insight gained during her field season studying warblers in British Columbia.  For more about Haley, see her bio at the end of the post. Today I’m going to tell you about something that is very important. It may even be the key to a successful field season, but no one seems to talk about it. Yes, to have a successful…

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Fears of fieldwork

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt In reading responses to the recently popular hashtag #fieldworkscares, I realized that luckily I haven’t had to deal with any major scares in the field (knock on wood!). But nonetheless, to a first time field biologist, some minor things can feel pretty scary! So I am going to share some of my #fieldworkfears as well and how I overcame them. One of the best…

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