On Saturday I helped Kerrigan, Ali, and Jenni with a University of Oregon journalism class that wanted some background on South Slough. I got to talk about my project a little, which was really good for experience. The class was highly interested in the eelgrass Ali preserved from Friday's excursion at Danger Point. The students were really friendly, and I even got to meet another LBCC graduate. The contrast of knowledge I have from my first day helping with the Master Naturalist class and the knowledge I have now is amusing to me. A few weeks ago I couldn't tell you the common names of some of the marsh grasses or much about eelgrass. I don't know all of it yet, but I still have time to learn.
Monday Amanda, Ali and I kayaked out to Hidden Creek at a very low tide. We knew going in that there probably wasn't going to be a whole lot of eelgrass at the Hidden Creek site, but we were determined to have fun anyway and the site has very sinky mud and very difficult to walk in. We did see eelgrass in the channel and along the channel sides from Charleston to Long Island but it was very sparse, and then there was no eelgrass from Hidden Creek to Hinch Bridge. It was really great to have Ali and Amanda there, they both were really patient with me, even though I was slow and needed help getting in and out of my kayak. Along our journey, we saw a lot of wildlife, my favorites being the two raccoons. One we saw early into the trip, it was small and waddled away quickly when it saw the oncoming people. The other was bigger, but it didn't have a tail. It walked from the woods to the edge of the water, washing its hands and grabbing things out of the water to eat. The second raccoon was braver than the first and stayed put for a while, even after I had passed it. I saw it later, peeking its face out of the woods further up the shore, making sure we were leaving its territory. We also saw many herons, crabs, vultures, and even a wasp nest. We didn't always have enough water to glide over the mud, so we tried a few interesting techniques to free ourselves. I ended up waddling on my knees at one point, determined not to let the mud get me. The scenery, despite the lack of eelgrass, was amazing. I have officially kayaked the entire South Slough, and even though I was tired and sore afterward, it was a really fun day, and highly recommend it to everyone. The saddest part of my day was returning to OIMB, and discovering we had no hot water in our dorm. We had it by the next morning, so I got my shower and cup of tea.
Tuesday and Wednesday comprised mostly of my working in Excel. I finished entering in the data from Valino Island, Danger Point, and Hidden Creek into the eelgrass density Access database, so I got to export that data into my Excel worksheets. Even though all the zeros might seem pointless to enter in, the number of sites and data points taken is important for the statistics Ali and I will be doing towards the end of my project. Ali and I also downloaded the data from the two Hobo loggers we gathered on Friday, so on Wednesday, I got to enter that data into my temperature graph. To my great sadness, I had to remove the data from Site C 2017 for months October through December, because the logger was trying to tell us the water during those months was the same temperature as the water in the summer. I get to do some digging to try to find different data for those months that is more accurate. Ali taught me how to export data tables from SWMPrats, which is where I'll get the Sonde data to compare to South Slough's Hobo recorded temperatures. To my and Ali's surprise, the Sonde temperature and the Hobo temperature were more similar than we were expecting, with only the highs and lows of the Hobo data being a little higher.
Professional development was on Tuesday, and I got to watch the five interns who didn't go last week share their research proposals. After that, we started working on our posters. I am using Microsoft Powerpoint to build my poster on because I have the more experience in it than other programs we could use. The seminar on Wednesday was by Dr. Kirill Kotkin on the research in the Russian Arctic. He had a great sense of humor and a lot of beautiful pictures of the Russian Arctic. The presentation was inspirational to watch because English wasn't his first language. I can barely stutter out a presentation in my first language, I can't imagine being able to do it in a different language.
I found myself back at Indian Point on Thursday, helping Amanda, Jenni. amd Ali with vegetation monitoring. This time we weren't looking for Bog Lilies, we were identifying, measuring, and counting trees, shrubs, and other vegetation. For me, it felt like a mash-up of the lily monitoring and the monitoring we did at Bull Island. Amanda and I were assigned to do the trees but ended up doing the vegetation quadrat at the second site. I continue to fail to find words on how to describe how much I love being in forests. Yes, there are spiders, sap, and bugs like mosquitoes and wasps. However, there is something serene about the different shades of green, something peaceful about the sound the trees make as the wind blows through them. I won't lie, it was pretty nice to have solid ground beneath my feet, no shoe-sucking mud. However, I still think I prefer the eelgrass beds because I don't have vegetation attempting to poke inside my ears, and I can stand up without getting a spider in my hair. Once we returned to OIMB, my younger sister Caitlin called. It sounded like we both had an interesting past couple of days, and even though we fight more than we get along, it was nice to hear her voice.
I volunteered to help Chris catch Green Crabs on Friday, and later will be cleaning off the Sondes and continuing to work on my data. This weekend we are going to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. So much to do in an increasingly short amount of time. Some of the other South Slough interns who have been here longer than me are already starting to get ready to go home, so I'm definitely feeling the time crunch. That being said, I'm going to get everything done to the best of my ability, and I'll continue giving this internship 100%.