Field of Science

Scientific field work - equipment attrition

Field work is hard on both the researchers and the equipment. TPP's back is not getting any younger. One of the adventures each spring is to discover all of the "equipment" you and your students lost the previous year. Now please understand that the reason this becomes apparent each spring when your field site is a prairie is that hidden things appear after the prairie has been burned.  Now herein lies the real problem: lost items are now easy to find, but following a prairie burn, they may not be in primo condition any more. Last year was a tough year. Several wooden meter sticks were lost, a couple of pairs of sunglasses, countless pencils, ballpoint pens, although one still worked quite well (Yeah Bic), and permanent markers just went missing, as well as a couple of compasses that lost their way. Well, here's the compasses, a bit on the toasty
side, but still quite functional as paper weights or as specimens for demonstrating to students the consequences of carelessness while doing field work. Ah, well, plastic components have their limitations.

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