This week marked our last days of the field season. Having spent the previous three months digging 44 soil pits, locating 44 plot centers in the remote reaches of the Buffalo Field Office, establishing 132 transects and identifying the grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees along each of them, and spending hours upon hours driving, I will truly miss our time outside. Now begins the real work: data entry.
Oh, is it brutal. Alas, if data are to be collected, they must eventually be stored properly. We will be spending the next week or so organizing every piece of datum we’ve collected this summer in a way so that they will be easy to find and navigate through. This involves going through each of our plot photos (there are 176 photographs total) into digital folders also containing scanned copies of our field data forms. We will also need, after entering our data into the Database for Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment (DIMA), to generate DIMA reports for other employees at our Field Office. Unfortunately, we’ve spent the entire field season entering our data into an outdated version of DIMA, and to generate the final reports we need, the newest version is required. This is where we’ve hit our most significant roadblock, but we will overcome. First, coffee. And I suppose a picture of a lake since it’s the only other photograph I have currently.
Once we get through this period of our internship, only one month will remain of my time in the Buffalo Field Office. Five months never sounded like an especially long time to me, but even so it is remarkable how quickly my time in Wyoming has flown by. This has been an invaluable experience for me thus far. I’ve expanded my resume, and I’ve gotten to live in a beautiful place surrounded by endless outdoor opportunities. I can only hope my next work experience is just as memorable.