After two weeks in the field, I am happy to say I survived. Through heat wave and rain clouds, soil pits and vegetation harvesting (which contained an awful lot more fence post removing than harvesting!). I have loved my time in the field and have collected a plethora of new memories, experiences, bug bites, bruises and more importantly skills. I am happy to report that I am pleasantly surprised at how tough I am. I have found that field work is a series of challenges set apart from the everyday. In my experience, field work is about pushing yourself, testing your boundaries and finding out what you can and can’t do. Hopefully, as I found, you will surprise yourself. One of our tasks was to harvest vegetation which had been fenced off since March. It was a surprise to find out that my black belt in karate came in great use here. Our original method (see below) was just not as successful as giving the post a good kick, whereby it came out of the ground easily! Another of my achievements was, climbing to the Peak of Starling Dodd after doing no serious walking for over 3 years!
Fence post removing (the hard way!)
Me and Beth at the top of starling Dodd!
My favorite parts of the field work began with our first ask. Here we spend just under an hour talking to Will, the farmer whose family owned the land we were working on. He went through, in detail, the history of the each of the pieces of land we were interested in. How the land had been managed, how some laws and legislation had influenced what management occurred on the Fell, what he had done to the land recently. It was really useful when out there in the field to have some background knowledge of what had happened before. Leading on after this using our vast map reading skills, Beth and I chose a feild, hopped a fence and began soil coring. After, a while we saw Will heading in our direction. Thinking nothing of it we waved and were greeted with the sentence “Thats not my field!”. Afterwhich we quickly replaced our stolen soil, re-hopped the fence and attempted to pretend like nothing had happened. Another was simply learning new skills and Beth’s reasons behind using them. I now know I will not be doing any vegetation sampling as grazing excluders are awful to remove, soil coring is not so bad and that when digging a soil pit, its actually quite small, not as I though big enough to bury a person in! I also enjoyed seeing how Beth completed her research, hearing what she had done in the past and learning from another like minded person’s experiences.
As I’m sure you have been told a thousand times, today’s job market is more competitive than ever. The way I have tried to make myself stand out is by getting involved in things I find interesting. This could be anything from joining a new club, volunteering at a local charity shop to doing long term internships during the summer months. I’ve attended several jobs fairs during my time at Lancaster and a recurring theme is that employers want evidence that you’re not just an academic that you can work with a range of people and that you have gone out of your way to do more than just get your degree.
Anyway that’s all from me! Next week it’s all lab work from here on!