Life Update: February

Well, not much to report here, to be honest.  It’s been a quiet, albeit rainy, month.  We had a massive storm last week and the forest has completely changed; there are huge tree falls everywhere!  It’s pretty amazing to see the impact of just one event on forest structure. We can still hear trees falling every now and then from camp a week later.

Big rain at camp (photo by Prof. Fan Pengfei)

Big rain at camp (photo by Prof. Fan Pengfei)

Forest work overall has also been a bit slow, we haven’t been able to start on the new microtopography project yet because the guys were busy with back-to-back nest and phenology surveys.  The first week of March is set for some big data collection though, which is exciting and it will be nice to finally get the field work started for that.  Hmm, what else? I’ve been keeping my eye out for jobs post-May as usual, which as anyone who’s recently tried to find a job in conservation knows, is a rather depressing exercise.  Most jobs are either volunteer (or even worse, they want YOU to pay) or they pay virtually nothing for mind-numbing work in the middle of nowhere, South Dakota or some equally bleak place.  Oh yeah, and add to this the fact that jobs where the education requirement is just a B.S. may eventually be filled by a Ph.D. because NO ONE can find work, and you can understand why looking for a job in conservation/ecology can be a bit frustrating. I was lucky enough to find an ad for a job at CIFOR the other day, which I found at 9:30 pm the day it was due and sent in the application 1 hour later.  Better late than never, right? Fingers crossed, it would be a really awesome job!  By the way, if anyone with connections is reading this: Early career scientist looking for paying research and field work. M.A. in Conservation Biology. I speak Indonesian. Contact me! 🙂

Anyway, sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated this, and that this post is rather boring, but hopefully I’ll have something more exciting to write about soon.  In the meantime, I hope all of you in the U.S. are staying nice and warm amidst the big snow!  Oh, and check out my “Hello Monday” profile on the OuTrop blog, thanks!

http://outrop.blogspot.com/2013/02/ms-cassie-freund-says-hello-monday-9.html

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A Pilot Study, Data Entry, and some Cheesy Pasta…

Well the title of this one about sums up my week! It was a pretty standard week in the forest, as I did a couple of days on orangutan work and then a few on various projects around camp.  Cis, Ari and I also piloted the new research project that I’ve been working on, which was quite fun.  The new project is on how the microtopography of the forest (the small hills and valleys that in part characterize peat swamp forest) dictates which tree species can grow where.  Some trees like the hilly bits, some like the low watery bits, and its possible that some have no preference; the goal of this project is to gather information on which species prefer which habitats and what this means for forest ecology.  I’m pretty pumped about this because it is the first project I’ve designed essentially on my own (in terms of the methods and compiling the background information) and from the pilot work we did I think it will work out quite well!  Of course now I’ve spoken too soon and I’m sure some major issue will come along, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there I suppose.

In other news, I’m in town for a few days enjoying cheesy pasta, sprite, and relatively non-mosquito free nights while doing some data entry, compiling our monthly report, and researching papers for another project.  Tomorrow will be another sweaty market day- Riethma (our friend/accountant/guru for all things Palangkaraya) and I are going shopping for new office chairs.  Between all of us living in the house here we’ve broken 3 chairs over the past couple of months, and while these occasions add comedic value to our days, we’ve decided that its time to fix the problem and buy some better chairs (see below)

Yep, I broke this one

Yep, I broke this one

In the meantime, for those of you who haven’t yet, check out my Whats Happening Wednesday blog post on the OuTrop blog!  The link is here: http://outrop.blogspot.com/2013/02/whats-happening-wednesday-6-putting.html

Sampai nanti lagi everyone, and for those of you in Amuurica I hope you’re not entirely snowed in!  (Insert appropriate joke about the snowstorm being named Nemo here)