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> Working at the Plots with Donie, Donie visits our plots in NH
Tom_Crumrine
post May 13 2006, 02:25 PM
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Today: 13 May 2006

This all took place on 5 May 2006

Donie’s second day began at 7:30 when I picked her up so we could go meet with my Biology II students. These students are the ones that have been most impacted by my work with Donie. Their studies of streams, winter ecology and field research were all influenced by the TREC program. The class is a group of 24 juniors and seniors and they have done a great job all year. The main goal of the class is for it to be the doing of biology rather than the rote study of a text. To that end we take lots of trips to the field and had a good amount of time to work on the plots.

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First Donie gave a presentation of her work to the students. Although the students knew most of the material in the presentation I think it was essential that they understand that the work they were doing was bigger than just Concord High. They had great questions and I genuinely think they liked knowing that Donie had come across the country to meet with them.

After a break we headed out to the plots to have Donie take a look at them. Over the last 3 weeks we had been working extremely hard on setting up our NH plots. As I mentioned in an earlier entry our design has 4 treatments with 3 replicates of each. The treatments are greenhouse, shade, fertilized and control. The fertilized and the greenhouse will be treated under the same standards as the Toolik Lake plots. The shade is somewhat of a different design and I believe it was suggested by Greg Goldsmith—a graduate assistant of Donie’s from last summer.

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As you can see in this photo Donie was right at home pitching in to help carry boards. We have carried at least 50 of these 8 foot 2x8s out to the plots over the last few weeks. They aren’t heavy until you try to carry 5 for ˝ a mile. While the location of our plots is fortunate because it is in a low traffic area, it also means that we have to walk a good distance to get to them. All things considered the students have had great enthusiasm for this project.

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Some of the things to consider are the fact that these seniors will never see the fruits of their labor. They are doing the very hard work of setting the whole project up. In future years students will not have to carry boards or spend hours sawing with a hand saw. At the same time their work is essential. As anyone who has done a long term project can testify the upfront work needs to be as good as possible. After 5 years it is impossible to go back to the beginning and fix a plot that was measured incorrectly. I have tried to constantly thank the students for doing such a fine job with the setup of the project.

While we were out at the plots this Friday we did several things:

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We did the final measurements of the individual plots. The plots are 2 x 3 meters with a ˝ meter buffer zone between the long axes and a 1 meter buffer zone at the ends. The buffer zone is filled in many places with boardwalk so that the future researchers will be able to work on them without damaging the plots. We considered not having this boardwalk and I am very glad that we did. We would have had many problems trying to do the work from the ground.

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Andrew hammers in support stakes

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Mark and Ariana work on assembling boardwalk. The already built sections can be seen in the background.

We also finished the installment of the boardwalk. This took longer than I expected. The students took a little longer to saw and nail than I expected. I made the mistake of thinking that since the carpentry skills were easy ones, all the students would know them. I found that many of the students were not comfortable using a hammer or a saw and it took longer to build boardwalk. I am glad we allowed for the extra time though because it was good for them to get the chance to learn and practice these skills.

Over the next few weeks we will build the shade and greenhouse structures and add the fertilizer. I think we should finish just before the end of school.

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Talking about the future.
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post May 14 2006, 02:21 PM
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QUOTE(Tom_Crumrine @ May 13 2006, 06:25 AM) *

Some of the things to consider are the fact that these seniors will never see the fruits of their labor. They are doing the very hard work of setting the whole project up. In future years students will not have to carry boards or spend hours sawing with a hand saw. At the same time their work is essential. As anyone who has done a long term project can testify the upfront work needs to be as good as possible. After 5 years it is impossible to go back to the beginning and fix a plot that was measured incorrectly. I have tried to constantly thank the students for doing such a fine job with the setup of the project.


Tom,

Those of us at ARCUS watching your project evolve want to thank you and your class for doing such a great job. We are very proud of you! Thanks for sharing the work on this project with everyone through your journal.

Wendy
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