In one of the previous weeks I took an afternoon to go and help out the biology team carry equipment out to a designated location on the lake. I remember that I struggled a bit carrying the sets of supplies (as well as the plants they had selected for their research) and wondering why I didn’t pack any mosquito spray with me. When we got to the site we started putting together the set of plants in containers which would then be put on a raft that had already been constructed by the team. For me personally it was interesting to see some of the scientific research actually done in the lake and all of the factors that have to accounted for. It provided with clearer understand of what the process is when trying to figure out ways to correct the phosphorous situation. As an anthropologist my research doesn’t involve actually getting in the lake and doing what I would say as “hands on work.” Rather going out and details from the public or reading up on policies. However, tagging along with the biology team has helped understand certain regulations better as well as more knowledge about the ecology involving the lake.
Another time I went and spent the entire day surveying farms with the sociology team. Me and Elise Martinez partnered up and drove to different farms to hand out surveys pertaining to agricultural practices. I give props to the sociologist team for going out almost every day to hand out these surveys. When first hearing about conducting surveys it doesn’t seem that bad, but there’s a lot of work and effort into creating the surveys, traveling far distances to hand out the surveys, trying to deal with farm dogs (We saw a lot of them, but thankful they were pretty nice), not getting lost in some random parts of Wisconsin (which I’ve done myself when I got out and do my interview), and just being positive even if they get a rejection. From an anthropologist viewpoint it was interesting for me to go and give these survey and not trying to conduct interviews with the people I met. In all I think me and Elise gave good feedback to one another of what strategies we could both use when trying to talk to different individuals and how to get information more efficiently. I also will say having another person in the car with you is reassuring when you’re not the familiar with area because if you do get lost (which fortunately we didn’t, praise google maps) at least you have some company.
I had a lot of fun working with these different groups and learning more about their own projects and seeing how everything ends up connecting. I think it’s important to be able to see this phosphorous situation from different sides and evaluating who and what it affects. I look forward to helping out some of the other groups in the weeks to come.