Vicky Tang’s Diary
Belarus Wetlands

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August 12, 2009: Completing the survey

Vicky surveying Our bog work is nearing the end. Today is our second to last day and I am determined to try the other jobs available to ensure I get a full experience, so I volunteer to go with Oleg and assist in the completion of the profile survey. He carries the heavy tripod viewer and takes measurements whilst I steadily prop the measuring stick beside each profile picket. I had been warned by others that this is an extremely boring job due to its solitary nature. But I relish the time alone to clear the mind. After lunch, I swap the ruler with Peter and join the group to count small trees. This involves identifying small families of trees, counting them, taking an average height, then choosing a representative specimen and noting age by counting the spaces between nodes. As we work, we notice the sky getting quite overcast. The original target of three plots for today is reduced to two. We head back to the bus at 4 pm to avoid inclement weather. We wait patiently for Natasha and Tanya to complete some profile descriptions and water quality measurements. They take water samples to measure pH and mineralisation. On the way back to the bus, we pass Victor the driver, who has spent the whole day collecting bilberries for his wife to make jam. It has been a very productive day for all. We only expected to wait an hour for the rest of the team to reconvene, but Oleg is very keen to complete the profile today so that he can do other studies tomorrow. The rain begins. It pours down, hard and fast! It is really beautiful on the bog, but we do worry about the team getting drenched. We finally pick them up at the end of the profile at 9:30 pm. It is an unexpectedly late day, everyone is tired and hungry, but there has been some great research conducted. It just proves the tough conditions that the researchers go through in order to take advantage of limited summer holidays to collect data in the field. Due to the cost of mounting such expeditions, it is imperative to make the most of the time available.

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