05 July 2021

Organising a fieldtrip under sub-optimal circumstances

 When I inherited the fieldwork from my colleague who was off work for family reasons, I wasn't quite sure where to start. But I was aware of the fact that it was important we would get permission from Natural Resources Wales, who manage the land we want to do fieldwork on, to do what we needed to do. So I set out to find out how such permission is obtained. And I was then referred to an extensive request form you have to fill out. And there were two problems with that. The first is: the documentation says NRW will answer within 12 weeks. When I read that, the fieldwork was 11 weeks away. Oh dear. My colleague had been off work for weeks already; why had the school wasted precious weeks in deciding who was going to take over which of his tasks? The second problem was that if you ask for permission, you need to know what you are asking permission for. And I had no idea. As this was the first year we were doing the fieldtrip in this location, we were back to square one in organising how we would do what and where! So I needed to find out really quickly what we wanted to do, and then really quickly apply for permission to do it. And finding out what you wanted to do was not easy either; we were only a team of five, and one of us was off, two others were scheduled to go off on the scientific cruise at some point, and one was about to do fieldwork in south Wales. I had to make a few executive decisions on behalf of people who were not in the position to make decisions themselves! And I had to do some herding of cats of the people who were around for discussions. And lastly, on a fieldtrip location matters a lot, so one is at risk of looking at sites like Google Maps, Digimap, and Zoom Earth. And as I pointed out before; I don't know how to work these without my hands. I did make sure I asked for a volunteer to make a location map for NRW. I really shouldn't be hurting myself.

I think it is coming together now, in spite of the difficulties. Once that application has been sent in and approved I will feel better about the whole thing!

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