Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Field techniques - Be prepared

With the fast approach of field season, we are reviewing and updating the orientation and training materials used by our field crews. In addition to a mass of information about CSU/CNHP policies and procedures and Natural Heritage Program methodology, we provide our crews with useful information about how to live and work safely in the great outdoors.

Topics covered include how to avoid or mitigate heat exhaustion, hypothermia, and altitude sickness, information about hazards such as lightning, hanta virus, ticks, and other wildlife, what to take into the field, and 4x4 driving tips. Field work can be the best job you've ever had, with a few common-sense precautions:

It will rain – so it's nice to have waterproof clothing-
Joe Stevens in the rain
CNHP Ecologist Joe Stevens is still smiling only because it hasn't started hailing yet.

Be prepared for poor driving conditions – you may encounter sand, mud, snow, and wildlife-
field vehicle stuck in the mud
Even the best of roads can flood and, well, this isn't the best of roads!

field vehicle stuck in the snow
Next to a spare tire, a shovel is also extremely handy to have in your vehicle.
And maybe chains, eh Peggy?

bison on side of road
Even if the animals are on the side of the road, keep a close eye on them, as their movements can be unpredictable (and in a large mammal-vehicle contest, nobody wins!).

Choose a tent site carefully, more than just rain, snow, or hail could fall on it-
big tree fell on tent
Yes, that is a giant tree on top of CNHP Ecologist Denise Culver's tent.  Fortunately, no one was in or near the tent at the time, but it took some doing to retrieve her belongings.

And always be sure to carry enough water!
desert skeleton

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