Fieldwork season – Finished!

On November 2nd, I experienced a very important, personal life event. Something that was not on my American Bucket List, but my actual bucket list. I saw a tardigrade. Tardigrades are otherwise known as water bears or moss piglets, and are one of the hardiest animals known to exist. Although not true extremophiles, they can survive the harshest of conditions including extreme temperatures, pressures, and radiation, mainly by entering a state of cryptobiosis where they decrease their water volume to 3%. Some individuals have even survived being in outer space. Marvin, a Research Assistant here, discovered a few on a piece of moss from the arboretum grounds, and plated them up for us to look at under a microscope. It was a good day.

Whilst in the field, collecting biomass, I’ve spotted a few more deer and also some other native wildlife – sandhill cranes and a possum! I was very excited to see a possum, honestly, it was also on my American Bucket list. Another item to tick off was going to my first potluck! It was a bit of an impromptu event for me so I didn’t take anything myself, next time I shall be more prepared!

I’ve made a couple of trips into the city in the past few weeks, once to check out a shopping mall (American Bucket list – check) and again to revisit the Field Museum and check out Brain Scoopin’ LIVE, a demonstration of a specimen preparation – in this case, a beaver. I also stumbled upon a charming used bookstore – I waited out the time until my train, reading on my Kindle (I did feel slightly guilty reading my own material there, I figure I’ll go back and contribute to the store another time). It’s a real shame I didn’t bring my camera over here because the fog and snow I’ve witnessed in Chicago has been breathtaking at points.

Another breathtaking event coming up is Illumination, an event focussed on lights and trees and the arboretum. I’m volunteering for the event and recently went to the training evening, where we got a quick tour. It really is spectacular and can’t wait to experience it properly, soon.

Back to biomass, we reached a huge milestone yesterday – all the collecting is done! Biomass from all the monocultures and treatment plots has been successfully collected. Unfortunately, yesterday was also the last day we had access to the large cooler, meaning half the remaining biomass is being stored in the office and half at my house! Space really is an issue, but the dryers are the true bottleneck. Slowly, the material is all being processed, and hopefully, we will have all the data written up by the end of December!

Campus Life – Night 🌌

Life on campus during the night might start out a little daunting, living in a new place and in a new room can always be scary. But from my experience, Edge Hill campus is a very safe place to be. Also, it’s absolutely beautiful.

I’ve taken some photographs that I’m pretty fond of at night on campus. Around this time last year I took some snowy pictures of campus early one morning when it had just settled.

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Yesterday, after spending the evening with a friend who lives on-campus, I went around the university again, this time with a DSLR camera instead of my phone. Excuse the blurry nature of some of the photos (although I think it does look nice with the bright blurry lights), as I’m not quite used to night photography and still don’t know the ins and outs of my camera.

We all know how early it gets dark in winter (despite it sneaking up and surprising us every year), and with the laundrette, McColls, library, and other facilities being open late, that means traversing through the cold, dark of night. Fortunately, Edge Hill University has many lamps to light your way through the night time adventures you may have. Whether it’s a late study session in the library, or a night out in the Quad, you’ll be able to find your way across campus with no trouble. Just remember where the tightrope walker sculpture is, I’ve forgotten about it far too many times and had a little jump when seeing it from the corner of my eye!

Also, if you haven’t seen these posts, they might be of use around this time of year, with final UCAS decisions and applicant days approaching. Although not relating the the first year of your studies in biological sciences, these entires are on my second year modules within the biology department:

Faye’s Blog – Trying to be a more active Film Student

So recently I have been a bit of a rubbish film student. I haven’t seen barely any new films that have recently been out in the cinema! Mainly because the cinema is so expensive these days. But luckily my boyfriends friend works at the Odeon back home and whenever my boyfriend helps him out with some of his uni work he gives him a couple of free tickets which is really awesome! So me and my boyfriend went to see Looper last week. And I loved it, I thought that it was such a fantastic film! I feel bad that I haven’t been to see more films now though because I have a feeling I have missed out on a lot recently! Especially when everyone on my course is discussing a lot of the new films.

I am also going to be filming my brother’s band when they are in the recording studio in a couple of weeks time. We are hoping to film one or two music videos for a couple of their original songs! So that should be fun, I’m really looking forward to it. Going to try and get some photo’s of them as well 🙂