April 04, 2008

Sunday Sunday Sunday

It looks like my first foray into the field will be taking place on Sunday. The weather promises to be good enough (mid-40's, no rain) and I'm itching to try out my new GPS unit and dehydrator. I'm going to be searching for polypores, but I've never gone for a foray in the early spring in this part of the country before so I don't know what else might be around. We shall see; I'll have my camera in tow.

I need to invest in a pack mule one of these days. I'm going to be lugging along a lot of stuff this time around, and if all goes well I'll also have to cart a number of samples out of the woods as well. I wonder if I could use my research funds to buy myself a mule. Where would I keep it when I wasn't using it? I don't think the other graduate students would like to have it hanging around the office and it'd probably contaminate the lab. I suppose I'll have to be my own pack animal for the time being, unless some kindly local wishes to volunteer for the job. Nah, didn't think so.

I've got my permits in place and all the equipment I need and a study area with enough topographic and ecological diversity to produce good and varied results:Wachusett study areaI've managed to get done everything else I needed to get done in order to have time for the season's first outing. I'm just plain psyched for Sunday! So if anybody is looking for me, you can find me at the above address, somewhere in the woods, probably trying to remove some Ganoderma or Fomitopsis sporocarp from a tree.

The state of Massachusetts gets a little something out of this, too. One of the things I learned from the good folks who run day-to-day operations at Wachusett is that they no longer have an onsite ecologist. There are some other researchers working in the north and east sides of the mountain, but I'm the only one who will be doing a study on the south slope. Part of our deal is that I'll be providing data to the state about what I find there, and they'll be able to use the information about the mycology and coleopterology of the area into their forest management programs. Everybody wins, except perhaps for the beetles who give their lives for science. Then again, I guess that's not a bad end for a beetle.

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