Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A catchup of day 2 - July 19, 2009

by Anna

Today is the first full day of our expedition here at CNSC. At last--after months of antagonizing waiting--we have ventured outside on to the Arctic Tundra in our space-suit like neoprene hip-waders. Before beginning research of "Climate Change at the Arctic's Edge", we are going through a process of adapting to our new surroundings and learning how to use research instruments. Our first task of the day was walking through a wetland in waders while also dip-netting small organism submerged in water, all the while hoping we don't get a booter and join the stickleback fish. We were also introduced to a special water-quality measuring device that can simultaneously measure:temperature, pH, conductivity, and oxygen concentration.

Near the end of our first hike we witnessed the landing of a research helicopter just outside of the CNSC center. After lunch we constructed hand made (under voluntold work conditions) fish traps from reused 2 Liter soda-bottles. After completing 40 traps, we built enough to set-out on a survey of frogs and stickleback fish populations in the surrounding wetland ponds. Just before departing for our first official research hike we learned how to use a GPS device; including how to set mark points and record coordinates of the ponds for when we return the following day. The hike was not only physically demanding over constantly changing pond and peat moss terrain, but we also dealt with getting wet when jumping into the pond and submerging the traps. All the while the wind consistently built in speed as I felt the bag of traps I carried turned into a training resistance parachute for runners. Although we hiked at a fairly fast pace set by Dr. Cash leading us through the wetlands, I was still able to stop for a moment notice silicated coal and the brightly colored orange lichen.

Upon our return to the CNSC, we met Spencer at dinner, who unfortunately missed his plane yesterday. Both Chris and myself survived our first 24 hours in Churchill with only the clothes we had on upon arrival and were finally reunited with our luggage. After dinner we drove to Churchill to pickup Carla from the airport. At last our entire Earthwatch team together with many varying stories of how we got here.

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