Friday, July 17, 2015

Strength in Numbers

Some of us canvasing at Freedom Fest, Wakanda Park.

It has been a great experience learning what everyone in the LAKES REU program is doing this summer. Over the past two weeks I got the chance to work with Josh and Yanira, the sociologists, and Megan and Lisette, the economists. I also spend Friday mornings with the geochemists at journal club where we discuss primary literature that will help us to better understand the problem at hand by looking at studies done on situations similar to ours. With both the economists and the sociologists we got together and ate pizza and stuffed envelopes with surveys to send to farmers and other members of the community within the Red Cedar watershed. With Lisette and Megan we also attended Freedom Fest at Wakanda Park to canvas. It was a great opportunity to interact with community members and it is something I have never had the chance to do before. Yanira, Josh, Lisette and Megan also came out on the boat with Lanna and I and helped us with water sampling. The two methods of data collection for our projects could not be more different but we are all working toward the same goal, to clean the lake. Lanna and I, as biologists, are working to obtain data that can make a statement about the lake’s health, how it changes over the summer months, how cyanobacteria blooms develop and how all of this is influenced by the changing concentration of phosphorous. Though without the work of the social scientists the research would end with the natural scientists and we would be stuck. We need to know exactly who to give the information that we find to, how to best present it and ultimately propose a solution that is best for the entire community. It is crucial that we continue to work together because that is how real change will happen. Seeing how our projects come together to meet our goal had been a really meaningful part of this interdisciplinary experience.

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