Blog Posts

A Day in the Life: Not the start of fall semester I had planned…

Hello my beaver-readers!

It’s been a hectic past couple of weeks because the fall semester started this Monday and I’ve been frantically getting everything in order. This semester is bringing in a bunch of new experiences – basically everything I had planned and thought my fall semester would be has gone out the window and replaced by new things. For those of you that know me personally, I am a hardcore planner. I love planning things. I thrive on order and predictability. I like having control of situations, and when things change (especially things that are out of my control) I tend to get a little flustered. BUT, I have to admit. I’m actually really excited about the changes to my fall semester plans and might even go so far as to describe the changes as fun.

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Beavers in the News: 150-year-old map reveals that beaver dams can last centuries

THIS JUST IN: Railroad director and entrepreneur Lewis Henry Morgan goes exploring the upper peninsula of Michigan in the mid 1800’s. While looking for places to lay railroad, he comes across huge “beaver district” composed of 64 glorious beaver dams. Although he admittedly isn’t much of a nature guy, the sheer ingenuity of the beaver’s engineering compelled him to document the beaver district in a hand drawn map. Curious modern scientist stumbles across 1860’s map while serving as a post-doc, compares it to Google Earth style aerial images and discovers that 74% of original dams are still around. Beavers are stubborn and very resilient.

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A Day in the Life: Whitewater rafting with beavers

I recently went on a 4-day vacation with Andrew and a bunch of his family. We went whitewater rafting down ~44 miles of the Green River through Dinosaur National Monument on the western edge of Colorado, starting at the famous Gates of Lodore. Because I’m a nerd and think about beaver dams at least five times per day, I found myself googling “beaver dam gates of lodore green river” out of curiosity – just to see if there were any news articles or stories about beavers in the area. Turns out that the Green River, particularly the sections we rafted on, has an incredibly rich history with beavers.

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Special PSA: Put out your campfires. Don’t start wildfires. Don’t burn down my field site.

This weekend just outside Boulder, a couple of campers from Alabama somehow managed to start the Cold Springs Wildfire. They left their campfire unattended and/or failed to properly extinguish it. The fire department confirmed it was started by them and they have been charged with felony arson. So far, the fire has burned about 600 acres, destroyed 3 homes, forced 2000 people to evacuate, and is 0% contained. Out of control wildfires suck. Out of control wildfires threatening to burn down my field site really suck.

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A Day in the Life: Science is not a fashion show

This past week I’ve gone out to visit several different beaver dams in the field. As expected, I’ve learned a lot about conducting field work. But I’ve also learned that science is not a fashion show.

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A Day in the Life: Dam.

Sometimes research doesn’t go as planned. Especially when collecting data in the field. Unlike in a laboratory or computer model, I have very little control over things in nature. I learned this the hard way when I went to go visit my field site this past week and noticed that something about my beaver dam had changed. My first thought was “Dam!” My second thought was “Damn.”

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A Day in the Life: My Research in Four Letter Words

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to attend a Science Communication symposium put on by my school’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) chapter. There were many valuable nuggets of information I gathered from the event, but my favorite part was when we were tasked with describing our research with only words that are four letters or less, with no acronyms or technical terms. The purpose of the activity was to get us talking about what we do in very simple language. My first thought was, “Hey! This is a really cool idea and a challenge I am excited to tackle!” About two seconds later I realized that “beaver” has six letters…this was going to be tougher than I thought.

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Beavers in the News: Alabama Residents Voice Concerns about Beaver Dam

I thought an interesting addition to my blog would be finding and discussing recent news articles about beavers and their dams.

THIS JUST IN. Alabama residents notice slightly more water collecting in an already established wetland. Upon further investigation, residents realize a beaver has moved in and dammed up a ditch. Citizens fear the beaver will bring with it biblical swarms of mosquitos all carrying the Zika virus and uncountable deadly copperhead snakes. Citizens believe removing the dam and beaver will protect them. City officials refused to remove the dam as it is on private property. Citizens fear for the vulnerable children and pregnant women of Athens. Beaver is the harbinger of the apocalypse. 

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A Day in the Life: Busy as a Beaver

My first academic year of graduate school is complete! However, you may have noticed that there haven’t been any posts about everyone’s favorite oversized rodent recently or stories of my Sisyphean quest to earn a PhD.

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Sometimes this is what the PhD process feels like.

No, I didn’t drop out and move to the mountains to live off the grid in a doomsday bunker. There are plenty of excuses I can make for my lack of blogging, but the truth of the matter is that I am still figuring out how to best manage my time. My day to day experiences as a grad student can be loosely clumped into three categories: purely academic work, purely fun activities, and crossovers.

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