Our first actual field work day took place near the research station, where LUOMUS (Finnish museum of natural history) are planning to build botanical garden. Main goals for the day were to practice the usage of different measurement tools and to get a picture what kind of research could be done in Taita area. It would also be pleasant surprise to get some good results, which we could forward to LUOMUS.
After a short of hassle in the morning the group, me and the measurement tools ended up to their right places. We separated into three groups, team banana got their place under the banana plants, team maize got place in the dry maize field and team natural got place in thicker forest that was partly indigenous.
Assistants went around these three spots with the equipment and demonstrated how they work, so everyone got to participate. Tools we had contained variety of instruments. Sakari demonstrated how the hemispherical photography and positioning with Trimble and hypsometer worked. Aleksi demonstrated how the clinometer, Specim IQ and chlorophyll meter worked. I myself showed how the soil respiration, moisture and temperature was measured and how sunscan worked. We took some soil samples and tested the its infiltration.
Before noon I worked with the team banana. Everyone was little tired but curious about the instruments, so measuring started well. Our ornithologists were excited about birds and the stream gurgled nicely. Even the heat didn’t bother us under the banana leaves.
In the maize field some of the team members experienced a small sun stroke. Despite the heat the team was doing fine with little help from the local girl called Saru. The battery that gave energy to the fans in gas chamber died suddenly so handy AP fixed it and measurements were finished successfully.
At team natural’s point you could tell it was already late and everybody were more or less ready to loose off. Measurements went without any problems, even thought Maiju, whom was terrified by hard science, hid under a leaf. As we left from the site we tried to clean the surroundings by taking some littered batteries with us, like any good citizen would do.
Surprisingly, all the groups were ready almost at the same time and headed back to station, where we had well deserved dinner and sauna.