This past weekend, I had my first field camp experience with my marine and terrestrial ecology class.
We spent two nights at Kiola Field Camp and had three days chocked full of biological tests and learning. I know that doesn’t sound very fun, but it was actually a blast.
We ran three experiments: one on the abundance of gastropods on the rocky shore, the second on aposematic coloring in butterflies (meaning coloring to warn of poison to predators), and a frog species abundance test. Basically, we did the fun field work at the beach, forest and bog this weekend, and the next two weeks we will be glued to our computers trying to analyze the data.
My very favorite, by far, was the frogging. The first night of our arrival we headed out around 9 p.m. and stomped around in the rain and mud for a couple hours identifying frog calls and attempting to catch them. I found one tree frog, which just happened to hop right in front of my face, pure luck.
Other than that, we listened to the calls because each frog species has a unique call. We picked these sounds up pretty quickly and were able to identify how many species were at each location. Even more exciting, we walked up on two huge male kangaroos boxing, which was both terrifying and awesome.
I think my crowning moment came our second night when the students went out frogging, just for fun, because what else would a group of biology students want to do while camping on a beautiful, full-mooned, night? This time I used triangulating methods with two friends to locate four frogs in a lake, two of which I was able to catch. SUCCESS! The night was topped off with my friend falling into the lake, then us warming up around the bonfire.
The next morning we went over all the biostatistics we would need to run in order to understand what we actually accomplished, then headed home for Uni (classes) the next day. I would say my first field camp was a great success and only served in making me more excited to get involved in field work in the future. Sometimes I get bogged down in the difficulty of the sciences, but this is the stuff I am truly passionate about.