Home Away From Home

Waving hello from the lake!

Photo Aug 23, 1 59 38 PM
Field Station Harbor

On August 17th, I traveled to Juniata and spent five days with my teammates preparing to cheer for the football season.  One of my favorite things about cheerleading is that it offers an escape from the stress of the day plus I get to see many of my friends.  My coach is very supportive and always reminds us that our academics come first.  We are at college to be students before we are athletes.  During preseason, we had the opportunity to share our program with the local news.  Check out our broadcast!  There are links to our short segments below the text.  I also was put on the spot for an interview.  Our team has pride in being student athletes!

Photo Aug 20, 7 34 38 AM.jpg
Our team with Jordan Tracy of WTAJ

On August 22nd, I successfully moved into the Raystown Field Station.  We had a presentation after moving in on field safety and then went down to the fire pit by the lake for s’mores and residential life information.

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The schedule at the field station includes having one class all day each day.  Our first day was an introduction to the station, tours, and logistics.

My class schedule is:

Mondays – GIS

Tuesdays – Sense of Place Seminar and Nature Photography

Wednesdays – Research

Thursdays – Aquatic Ecology

Fridays – Limnology

Our first class was Limnology on Friday.   We have only had a few classes, but so far we have designed a leaf decomposition study as a class to evaluate nearby ponds and Raystown Lake.  Our labs the past two weeks have comprised of going out on the lake on the boat and measuring the lake’s physical and chemical properties.

Photo Aug 31, 1 58 58 PM.jpg
Using a probe to measure dissolved oxygen at different depths of Raystown Lake

For GIS, we have been exploring the program and practicing creating maps or finding information.  I am very excited to learn how to use GIS more and how it can help with my research.

Sense of Place seminar began with a boat tour of Raystown Lake, which included the basic science and history facts of the area.  Who knew you could have a lecture on a boat?  We also discussed our research projects for the semester.  I am not sure what I am exactly studying yet, but I will be researching an acid mine drainage site.

Photo Aug 28, 10 32 47 PM

Photo Aug 28, 10 32 38 PM
Boat tour of Raystown!

The first two weeks, we did not have anything on Wednesdays because we do not have our research projects established yet.  My professor said, “Either make it a very productive day or a really good day”.  I did a combination of both; I did some homework in the morning and spent the afternoon kayaking on the lake with some classmates.

Photo Aug 29, 2 59 11 PM

Nature photography is a lot of terminology and learning the basic concepts of how to take a good picture.  It is particularly difficult to take pictures of wildlife because of their movements so we have learned a lot of specialized techniques so far.  Our first project was a picture of a wildflower.  Here are my first attempts!  I am looking forward to improving my skills.

Aquatic Ecology has been an introduction to ecology and learning the applications of these concepts in aquatic ecosystems.  This course is unique because it is taught by Dr. Lane Loya from Saint Francis University.

One afternoon, we had a mini Lake Symposium to listen to researchers discuss the previous studies on Raystown Lake and the potential issues for the future.  The presenters included a park ranger from the US Army Corps of Engineers, and from Juniata, Dr. Sharon Yohn and Dr. Chuck Yohn.  It is interesting to learn about an ecosystem in which you live and about the different issues that have to be monitored.

I also enjoyed kayaking and going on a firework cruise on the lake with my mom on Labor Day weekend.

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From September 10th to 14th, our class at the field station is travelling to the Finger Lakes region of New York to study lakes and streams.  We are going to be staying at the Cornell Biological Field Station and the USGS Lake Ontario Biological Station.  On the way home, we will stop at Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  I will be taking lots of pictures for Nature Photography while there so I will document a lot of the trip!  Our Limnology and Aquatic Ecology professors will be joining us too, which will provide an immersive experience to apply everything we have learned and will learn this semester.

I wanted to end this post with some fun from one of Juniata’s traditions, Lobsterfest (Yes, sometimes I actually go back to campus.)  It is an opportunity for students to sign up for clubs and enjoy delicious lobster on the quad.

 

I am probably going to jinx myself, but another tradition at Juniata is Mountain Day.  One day in the fall, classes are canceled and the school provides buses to take everyone to Seven Points Recreation Area on Raystown Lake for a day of outdoor fun including a picnic lunch, kayaking, slip and slide, inflatables, tug-of-war, and more.  However, no one knows in advance when it is going be.  As the JC website states, “trying to guess the date of Mountain Day is one of the most popular topics of conversation among the students and faculty in the weeks leading up to the event”.  It really is.  Students and professors will place bets when they think it will be and students will stay up all night if they think it might be the next day.

I really hope Mountain Day is not this upcoming week while we are in NY, but if it is we will get to pick another day in the semester as our own field station “mountain day”.  I really want to go this year because we will be able to sail the research boat across the lake to get there.

I have already heard some rumors…so fingers crossed!!

Here’s to more adventures and beautiful sunsets on the lake.

Photo Aug 30, 7 47 53 PMPhoto Aug 30, 8 03 06 PM

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