Saturday, July 18, 2015

Different Methods, One Goal

Our goal here at the LAKES project is to make a dramatic change to the watershed over a long period of time, because there is no cure all for cleaning our lakes and rivers. Interdisciplinary research allows for us to understand all parts of the project and more overtly the problem. My different experiences in the program so far have left me with an understanding of all the different aspects of the lakes, rivers, political climate, volunteer willingness, and participation of local organizations. These experiences can be summed up to different methods to one greater goal.

The first interdisciplinary experience that I had in the program was doing transcriptions for the Anthropologists. I thought it was exciting, which is really weird, because I was sitting in front of a computer with a fancy stop and go foot pedal that allowed me to hear the interview at my pace. Needless to say, I spent the first twenty minutes just typing and didn't know what I was typing. So I went back and listened. The conversation was so intriguing and central to my own research that I took some side notes as to why there were  different experiences between farmers and county workers. Some of these statements have been central to my research on farmers and the establishment of farmer led councils.
My second interdisciplinary experience was going out on a boat with Biologists. This experience showed me how bad the lakes actually were. I spent the whole morning on the green lake watching the early stages of the summer bloom. The best part was the explanations that the Biologists were giving for the methods that we were doing. It was fascinating. I loved getting out on the lake with Nicole, Lana, and Dr. Nold, but oddly enough I think the lab was even more interesting to me. There were gadgets and gizmos galore. They even allowed us to do some of the tasks and explained everything about the tasks. It an amazing experience.

The Economist treated us with the best letter stuffing experience I have ever been a part of. I really wish that I could have joined for their canvasing experiences, but unfortunately I wasn't able too. In the future I am really hoping to help them go through their data, because the surveys they wrote were extremely interesting to me, so Economists be ready, we have to hang out soon. 

Really, the hardest part of my interdisciplinary experience was being the person teaching and leading the experience for someone else. One day, Austin came out with me to survey farmers and I didn't honestly know what to do or say to help him have the best experience. But that day ended up being the best day for surveying. We talked to farmers at almost every house we went to and Austin's experience in geology got us into so really incredible conversations about soil, water and farm land usage. 

Overall, these experiences worked together to give me the framework of what this project really is about. That is getting the community, farmers, students, policy makers and conservationists all working together to fix the lakes. This going to take a lot of time and effort, but change needs people behind it and it needs interdisciplinary understanding. Thanks to everyone for the incredible experiences and the understanding that to reach our one goal we all need to work together as one community.

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