Week 2: What have you learned this summer so far? What don't you know at this point? What are you going to learn more about? How do you plan to learn more?
My favorite part about this program thus far is how it has allowed me to focus in on subject matters that I am passionate about as well as explore new topics that I am being introduced to. That's the beauty of interdisciplinary research.
My research project aims to capture the upstream producer's (farmer's) willingness to accept payments or services so that they may transition to or maintain environmentally sensitive and socially sound farming practices in order to remediate phosphorus pollution. This project will also capture the downstream consumer's (citizen's) willingness to pay to clean up the lake. In doing so, we will be surveying and talking to both farmers and citizens to get a clear picture of what can be done in this community. We have learned which questions to ask and how to phrase them to get the most information out of a minimal number of questions. This was a challenge since we all have a million questions in our heads! The rest of the summer will be spent distributing this survey, collecting responses, and analyzing data.
|View of farmland from the observation tower at Hoffman Hills.|
Attending this meeting brought into focus the true purpose of this research project - to improve quality of life for members of this community while simultaneously caring for the environment that sustains this community (that's right - it's not all about beefing up our CVs!). It was a joy and a learning experience to listen to members of the community that are invested in the phosphorus pollution problem. As I move forward, I am going to continue to engage in conversation with more farmers and citizens as that is the type of work that I enjoy doing. I learn best by turning to the people who are immediately affected by the problem. I'm quickly discovering that I have a mini anthropologist/sociologist in me screaming for attention!