Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 7: Run! (but not from a polar bear!)

On June 15th and 16th, I’m going to be flying! In a chopper! I’ve never flown in a chopper before! Unfortunately, this opportunity has become available to me because the grad student can’t come up for this field trip. Sorry, Nicole! I’ll dedicate my first ride in a helicopter to you!

As cool as this is, the problem with the scenario is that my experiment is planned to run during these days! That means I have to have everything in place for the experiment before I go up, especially since that will be a hectic couple of days with the massive amount of filtering that accompanies Lauren and Nicole’s Wapusk samples. I was up here last year as a field assistant, which mostly meant filtering and carrying cartons of lake water for them. (Wapusk in a national park along the coast east of CNSC.)

So I spent today getting everything in place for my experiment so it can run smoothly in parallel with the chopper! I wrote out the protocols so I have all the steps worked out before I go out to get the samples and come back with nowhere to put them. It will also allow the research staff to do some of the filtering for me when I can’t do it myself. One of the problems I came across was finding a way to keep my lake water filled containers from falling over in the kiddy pool that they will be incubating in. After trying to make a purely string grid and discovering that I had nothing to attach it to, and then thinking about making a frame I could place into the pool (thanks Krista and Jolene for bouncing ideas around with me) and finally coming up with this…!

Three dowel rods across the pool with the containers tied to the dowels with twine!
I "borrowed two broom stick handles for tow of the dowels and need to find just one
more to make this work! I will prototype soon (see, I paid attention in INTEG 121!),
but I'm pretty sure this will work!

The evening also consisted of my first run in a couple months and it was 8km! It was a whole new experience to run with someone else, and more so to run with an annoying bear monitor with a shotgun on his back! Well, I’m not sure if the shotgun was for bear monitoring or for motivation to run faster. Steve did make it feel like boot camp and I wanted to knock him off of his bike a couple of times!

Only in Churchill do you see a bunch of runners going out with a biker
with a shotgun slung over his shoulder!
It was about 2C and windy. But at least I got out!
The buildings in the background are CNSC.
I also discovered an online course sponsored by the World Federation in Science Journalism that teaches how to be a good science journalist. I read through the first lesson and did the assignments. I think this will really help me develop a better understanding of how to report science. It seems a bit more tailored to freelance journalists, but the basic concepts of article construction and interviewing will certainly relate to what I propose to do with my work. Podcasting to start soon!


  1. Would it be wrong to say that the second to last image would look like a splash screen for the next Left 4 Dead game. Left 4 Dead: Frozen Tundra!

  2. I hope I won't be left for dead!

  3. Look at you go! 8km.. not bad at all! Ruins some of my excuses why I can't do the 20km round trip to the bike trails on bike though.

    And soon, you will be the one with the gun! Maybe invest in some army pants too? Not necessarily for the camouflage potential, but because we both know it would be an awesome Facebook profile pic (even more so if a bear winds up in the photo too).

  4. Only 20km? That's what, a half hour trip on bike? You can do that easily!

    I will look into cameo... I wonder where that picture from last year of me with a shotgun has gone to...?

  5. The first 10km there is no problem, it's the 10km back AFTER riding trails until it's hard to even balance that's the more interesting issue. But I may have to try.