Our first round of sampling
Nearly two weeks later and we (by we I mean those in the Foster-Baker laboratory interested in stream ecology) finished our first round of macroinvertebrate sampling. Macroinvertebrate abundance and diversity are reliable indicators of stream health. The first half of our sampling was focused on whether streams are healthiest in meadow streams, hemlock forest streams, or deciduous forest streams in the Brooks Woodland Preserve. The second half of our sampling entailed assessing stream health in respect to land use for the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust. All of the streams we surveyed and sampled had profound beauty and beautiful spots for lunch breaks!
Though our stream team was blessed with such beautiful work sites, this round of sampling was far from fun and games. Things rarely went as planned. We learned to not forget essential items (such as our notes, sampling nets, GPS, or my favorite, our waders on the Blackstone green) by forgetting them and having to learn from our mistakes. Things always took longer than planned, whether it was readying our materials in the lab each morning, the drive to the streams (we got lost plenty of times), ‘bush-wacking’ to find our sampling sites, or the actual sampling. We shivered sampling the cold downpours of tropical storm Andrea thinking we were clever to finish our sampling before what we thought would be a stormy weekend (which would make the stream flow too high and fast to safely sample) that ended up being sunny. Though our first round of sampling was more strenuous, tedious, and drawn out than any of us had wished, the delayed gratification made everything worth while! Even more importantly, we’re learning how to work together as a team, which will allow subsequent samplings to flow more smoothly!