Just some of the snazzy equipment I've been using for research so far. Rite in the rain notebook. Pencils. Digital micrometer. Scissors. Chlorophyll meter. Hole punch. Scotch tape and nail polish (has to be clear!). Envelopes. All of the envelopes. Vials w/ FAA for leaf anatomy. Wine. Lots of wine. And lemons? Provided by my awesome host. Not sure of their purpose yet, but they will be used! Not pictured: medical syringes (1 ml, 5 ml, and 50 ml), bike pump, buckets, more envelopes, urine bags, 5 lb. bag of rice, flatbed scanner, flagging tape (pink!), ziplock bags (assorted sizes), etc. All of this, and yet I still am find myself in need of some supplies...go figure...can only prepare so much!
I did end up getting everything packed into my two suitcases, and made it through security on the US end, but we ran into a customs problem in Cape Town. So, while we waited for our bags to be released, we traveled to the Eastern Cape to check out some of the wildlife. I caught my first glimpse of the Indian Ocean (perhaps my favorite ocean now) at Tsitsikama National Park, and we saw so much wildlife at Addo Elephant Park. A 180,000 hectare conservation park near Port Elizabeth (http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/addo/). Not a bad way to wait for our bags!
Yup. I had to fit all of this (minus the bike, but including a 25 lb. pump), into two suitcases. I had to beg some friends who are arriving later to bring some things for me, and am going to need to pay the fine for an oversize bag, but I think I did it. I will be so relieved to make it through security and be on the plane!
Every field season I get this contradictory feeling of excitement and pure terror/anxiety. This being my first year as a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Connecticut, I wanted to start a picture blog that my friends, family, and colleagues can follow. For the next ten weeks, I will be pursuing my first field season in South Africa. There is so much to explore (I leave in 2 days!), so wish me luck!