Monday 08.02.2010 ~ Friday 08.06.2010
So far, I have gained a lot of experience at USGS that I have found useful. I have spent time in the lab
processing water quality samples to be tested for E. coli, filed well schedules, spent hours shredding paper,
packed cleaned and labeled bottles in preparation for field outings, swept up debris in the warehouse, cleaned
vehicles, filed financial documents, filed fleet mileage to be reported and performed various other office duties too tedious to list. None of these tasks took place during my forth week however, that week, was the most trying week of my life.
I was informed about a week before we were expected to leave that I was assigned to a project on the Missouri River. The US Army Corps of Engineers opened up the Gavin's Point Damn and contracted with USGS to find out how much of a difference was made in the river's water elevation. My job was to operate remote sensing equipment with one other member of the team. The area was mapped out before we went into the field and we used GPS maps to measure elevation at the top of the bank down into the river as far as we could walk.
Everyday at 6:30AM we rode out to the river with a boat. We had two guys to get the boat ready while Reilly and I set up equipment. Each day a base station had to be set up and that was the first thing we did once the boat was ready. After the boat guys took discharge measurements they dropped us off and we set off into the hot, mosquito infested banks to walk our lines. We took elevation measurements on land and the boat took measurements of the water depth.
Twelve hours, everyday for five days and I was ready for the job to be done. From this field excursion I
learned a little about GPS and remote sensing which proved useful once the school year began, but the most important thing that I took with me is appreciation for scientists in the field. Working in the field is not easy by any means and is physically and psychologically demanding. Scientists that conduct their research in the field are very dedicated to the work that they do. While working in the field I was confronted with my future and whether or not working in the elements is something I really want to do.