We have concluded our final surveys! The mud has been cleaned off, the gear repaired and inventoried, and the alarm clock reset to a time after sunrise. Our citizen science project is still running, but as technician, it is time for me to transition from an “outside” biologist to a “inside” biologist.
Any biologist will tell you that data entry is arguably the most important part of any field project. We sat huddled in a vehicle after an unexpected torrential downpour, peeling off the seven soaked layers we wore to work when it appeared to be a clear, cold morning. We waded through marshes and occasionally swam to shore when the tide came in too fast. We drank gallons of coffee to stay alert at 3:30 am during early morning point counts.
We pour our heart and soul in a project and our data is what we have to show for it.
Data entry job that requires patience, problem-solving, ingenuity, and careful, painstaking attention to detail. I take unabashed delight in taming the chaos with my organizational skills. I also despair at my past self when I see where I made a mistake. Then there is the panicked search for missing data, only to find I filed it in the wrong section.
While data entry may not be the most exciting part of my job, I can work anywhere at any time. All I need is some coffee and a WIFI password. I like to support the local coffee shops and often find myself camping in a corner with a stack of papers and bowl-like mug of coffee.
At the end of the day, I find satisfaction in seeing my hard work translated into carefully organized information. The next step will be running this data through algorithms, models, and statistical analysis to answer our burning scientific questions. Armed with this information, we can enact and encourage conservation measures that will serve our feathery friends well.
So thanks for reading! I’ll post more in the fall when our surveys start up again.