My favorite memories at the field site so far are the opportunities we have to explore the Outer Banks during field trips, facilitated by our directors Lindsay Dubbs and Linda D’Anna. Some work weeks end with a “field Friday,” when we’re collecting data for our Capstone. Other Fridays are dedicated to ecology lab work. Additionally our professors aim to apply concepts that we learn in both our ecology and management classes to our surroundings, through carefully organized group outings that often occur on Fridays.

A Friday in the Forest
One of the first “field Fridays” that we experienced as a cohort was a day of sampling in Buxton Woods. This field day consisted of collecting missing data from plots sampled the previous week as well as sampling a brand new plot, making our survey three plots total. We began this Friday with a breakfast from Orange Blossom Bakery & Cafe. I recommend trying a cinnamon roll or one of their famous apple uglies. The sampling was tedious and tiring, the incentive we needed to preserve was our pastries waiting for us in the van.
On other field days we’ve visited prominent members in the communities of Cape Hatteras and Buxton Woods. Some of my cohorts conducted their interviews on Fridays to assist in the completion of the sociological side of our Capstone Research. Through these “field Fridays” I learned a great deal about my personal capabilities.  Botany was never on my radar of potential hobbies before coming to the OBXFS, but nowadays I eagerly identify the same species from Buxton in other places. 

Our Frigid Friday on the Sound
The next adventure I wanted to highlight is our water lab. In this lab we aimed to hypothesize a relationship between water temp, PSI, DO, turbidity, and levels of Chlorophyll a. Originally we planned to take a boat on the sound and do our sampling aboard, but the weather was uncooperative. We opted to visit a few sites still, traveling by van instead. The first site was significantly easier than the rest because we took data from the familiar bulkhead at CSI. Oregon inlet was the second site that we sampled. Here we ran into a little hiccup, the pier we intended to conduct our sampling on was closed. Instead of packing up and pulling out of the parking lot, we adapted our plan to sample from the beach. You can see Jane on your right standing in the water with our YSI, taking parameter readings from 
a surface depth. Steve to the left is recording our lab activities on a GoPro for an OBXFS promotional video. I am a tall girl so I had the opportunity to take the YSI data at our max depth recorded in Oregon Inlet. It was empowering to face the turbulent sea in the name of science. From there we conducted our final sampling under the Baum Bridge and finally saw some emergent blue skies. Here we experimented with what I believe is called a Veredian Tube, a.k.a another state-of-the-art piece of equipment we borrowed from CSI. In the photo to the left Joseph is releasing the water captured in the coring device before we headed back to CSI. An interesting part about being at a field site is my exposure to so many unique research tools. I have a much greater appreciation and understanding for the papers I read for class after seeing some research methodology firsthand. Recognizing tools and techniques used by the published researchers is super encouraging. 

Full Friday of Fulfilling Activities.
Last Friday at the field site was dedicated to our ghost crab ecology lab. This Friday started off with a bright and early sunrise at Jennette’s Pier. We wanted to ensure the least disruption by tourists and beach drivers. We counted Ghost Crab holes in the sand and collected our findings on a data sheet with a specific numeric system to describe what we saw. The data we collect in this lab will contribute to a larger study on Ghost Crab population numbers conducted by colleagues of Lindsay’s who do research at CSI. When we were in the sand digging around for sand fleas and tossing hula hoops for science, I couldn’t help but feel like a little kid again. While at the beach we tested out a sand coring and sifting method to catch the sand fleas. This process is demonstrated by my classmates Keenan and Blakely in the photo on the right. To top off a terrific morning, we had a communing breakfast at Stack ‘em High. By the way, I was thoroughly impressed by their breakfast burrito.
After filling myself to the brim on hash browns, another classmate named Anna and I headed back to the pier to volunteer for one of our CAB members, Christin Brown. Christin is the director of education at the pier and invited us to fish with a group of students with exceptional needs from First Flight and Manteo Middle and High Schools. We had a blast and made so many new friends! After a few hours of fishing we made our way back to CSI and finished our plant identification process from our aforementioned vegetation sampling. The evening came to a close with a frightful trip to the Haunted Wanchese Woods.