One part of field work I have to mention in concluding my thoughts about my first week of field work is how amazing people are. I had three fantastic field hands this week. My wonderful cousin Lauren came out with me Tuesday and Thursday and my lovely sister Julia came with me on Wednesday. Never underestimate the power and impact of family. This is part of why I am so happy to be studying Long Island. First, I care deeply about the island because I grew up here and I have so much family on Long Island that want to help.
I am so lucky to be so in sync with my sisters. I swear Julia was reading my mind and had everything that I would want done before I even consciously thought of it myself.
Lauren is so helpful and wonderful. She’s going into Physics and Computer Science, so she had a scientifically oriented mind and and makes me think about what I’m doing and why. On Thursday we had a long talk about my research. It was incredibly helpful to understand the best way to explain my research to different people and make it accessible.
Rob who is a volunteer in Wally’s lab, is, by some crazy coincidence, not only also from Long Island, but from East Setauket, where my cousin Lauren is from. They both worked at the same bagel shop (Strathmore Bagels and Deli) and hung out occasionally. Anyway, Rob is awesome and totally had my back. He was right there with me in the field taking measurements, figuring out the dimensions of the marsh, and basically singlehandedly keeping all necessary notes. I really appreciated his help.
It’s fascinating how in the beginning and end of projects, the background information, data, and conclusions matter a ton, but in the heart of the project, the people are the most essential part. Besides the fact that it physically would be impossible to do, I highly double I could have done field work on that horrible rainy Thursday in Caumsett Park without Lauren and Rob. Being dressed up in our matching rain jackets, pulling off zip off pants, and taking wet pictures of ourselves afterwards in front of the van when the sun started to come out, made it fun.
The drive behind everything in life is people, for me at least. Despite considering myself capable of being a fairly successful lab rat at times, I can’t deny that I couldn’t even do that without people. Here’s another moment in which I remember how the reason I’m studying science in the first place is to help people understand what’s happening to our planet and what we should do about it.