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World Perspectives Program Blog

Our last day in Andorra

By Ethan Lior ‘20

Yesterday was the final day of the adventurous expedition with Earthwatch. Our group has been exposed to the reality of scientific data collection, field work, and how much time and energy it takes to try to support a hypothesis of such magnitude as to how climate change will affect nature in the future.

The group completed the normal routine of checking the small mammal traps but also cleaning the traps and preparing them for a new location in which to analyze the density of a certain species in a select area. Throughout the week, each group member has become fluent at tagging, releasing, and recording information about the mammal that was caught.  

As part of our field work, our group faced a new challenge in which we would have to shuttle 16 heavy metal stakes up a trail to a hut in order to help Bernat with his research on the effects of herbivory (animals eating plants) in an environment. Each member placed a metal stake into their backpack besides Manel and Jana who both carried 4 with ease.

After about ten minutes, the group ran into horses which were very kind but wanted the snacks considerably more than they wanted to be touched. Anna was able to use some snaps and claps to help drive the horses away from the food and allowing the hungry expeditioners to eat in peace.

When the group reached the hut, the stakes were dropped and each member decided to either check cameras, dendrometers, or nest boxes.  Jack, Bernat, and I replaced batteries and SD cards in the cameras after walking to what seemed across the whole Pyrenees.

After all the groups completed their jobs and ate lunch, a group nap was initiated and everyone rested under the shade with an unmatchable view.

The final task was to place the metal stakes into a three by three meter square but unfortunately there was only one sledgehammer so each group member grabbed a rock and smashed the stakes into the ground until they were in the proper position.

When the day was over, our adventure here in Andorra had ended.  While we are all tired from our hard work, we are all grateful that we were able to learn how to conduct scientific research and analysis and experience our love of nature.

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