September 09, 2019

Live from Andorra: Day 1


By Maude Lauzon

Hello everyone!

This is Maude from Alcoa Deschambault, an aluminum smelter located in Canada. Today was our first day in the field as Earthwatch volunteers on the project Wildlife in the Changing  Andorran Pyrenees.

I am so glad to be here in this beautiful area of Andorra, a well-hidden gem of a country on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.

I met my teammates yesterday as well as the expedition staff and I have to say that we all connected right away! We are a great team! This is us today having a break on our way up to the upper site.

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(Picture 1. The team)

This morning we started the day with an activity on the lowest part of the mountain. The scenery was stunning and the ambiance was great! We divided up into smaller groups. On my side, we had to look for 36 small mammal traps that were placed the night before. When opening the traps, Albert, the Earthwatch scientist we were paired with, would carefully manipulate the mouse and we would collect data such as species, weight, gender, and other characteristics. The mice are really cute to observe!

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(Picture 2. Small mammal traps)

Albert is showing us the mouse so we can observe the characteristics of the species

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(Picture 3. Albert and a garden dormouse, Eliomys quercinus).

Our second task was to hike higher up the mountain to reach the boundary between the forest and the alpine meadows to search for tea bags buried in the ground. The goal is to learn more about the decomposition rate, a measure of soil activity, by weighing the tea bags and comparing them with their initial weights. This was a very delicate task as we could easily damage buried tea bags with our tool.

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(Picture 4 & 5 tea bags)

It feels really good to be here, learning more about climate change and contributing to real research! Looking forward to tomorrow!

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