18 June 2017

Laugharne: the pressure is on

I had participated in the Laugharne fieldwork several times before. What I do with the students is take them sampling a salt marsh in the morning, and pick forams in the afternoon. It is a time-consuming activity; it is not unusual for the whole day to take 12 hours. Fourteen hours has happened too. And that every day! But there isn't much pressure on the system. I'm comfortable in my sampling and my taxonomy. But this year is different.

Having been made partially responsible for the fieldwork was a game-changer. Before the fieldwork I was jumped at by thoughts such as "Has the accommodation actually been paid? How will we get the keys to the rental vehicles? Do we have enough notebooks for the students? Have the computers been sorted? Will the student will visual problems (who doesn't answer my emails) be able to do microscope work?" and much more like that. And once there, I have these long days in the lab but it's also up to me to make the schedule every day for the next day and post it up, so the students know what time to show up where. I also have to make sure we have the vehicles to get everyone where they need to be. I also am the logical person to answer students' questions, but I hope they just go to the member of staff most relevant to their inquiry, as I only know about my own field day. And I feel responsible for making sure someone is cooking food every day.

 A few days in it seems like everything is working. This year is relatively easy; the trip is now compulsory for fewer students than in the previous years, and students are not likely to do something that costs £150 (or £90 for those on a small budget) and takes 11 days if they do not have to. Last year we had 35 students; this year only 22. The logistics are a lost easier this way! And all seems to roll on as usual; the various activities are happening as planned, people cook meals, all is well; once the trip has momentum it doesn't need much interference. Good!

Introducing the field: Colin gesticulating in a salt marsh

No comments: