This morning, we all woke up to it being another rainy and overcast day. Still half asleep, we had breakfast and gathered together in the classroom shortly after to get set for our first big adventure in Churchill: our first day in the field collecting data!
Ensuring that we had all the needed equipment including the probes, quadrats, and tape measures, we soon were off down the road to our two sites, both of which were fens.
Once we arrived, we put on our hip waders, and began by searching the fen for many different plants. Using duotangs filled with paper, we taped numerous species of shrubs, herbs, and moss onto the pages. Finally, we were ready to start the researching journey!
After being split up into partners and then assigned one of the four data collecting jobs, we trudged through water, soil, and a countless number of plants. Out of the four jobs, macro, micro, pinning, and active layer testing, I first got to do micro which is where you have to go in depth, find each species of shrub, herb, moss, dead vegetation, water, soil, and lichen, and record an estimated percentage of each type.
Once everyone had finished their testing, we had lunch, but quickly got back to work in the next fen. This time I had the opportunity to complete the active layer testing. Using two probes of different lengths, my partner and I had to find the thickness of the active layer by putting the probes into the ground and finding where the permafrost started. It was not an easy task as there were many rocks, and in this fen, the active layer had measured to be up to about 200cm! Two people even got stuck in the fen and we almost lost their shoes!
Although my feet were cold, and at times I was knee deep in water, it was one of the greatest experiences and I cannot wait to see what the next week has in store for ISAMR.
Later, we visited the train station and learned about the history of the Sayisi Dene through a presentation from Florence who is a Sayisi Dene herself. Soon after dropping off recycling collection posters around Churchill, we headed back to the CNSC and went to bed, getting well needed sleep after a everlasting day to remember.