A Few More Memories
by Nicole Carlozo -- March 21st, 2012
My time at Duke is winding to an end, but my adventures are not. My Watershed Science & Policy field class began last week, and I soon found myself knee-deep in forests, farms, and wetlands!
I’ve had my fair share of mosquito and chigger experiences over the past few years. Every time I find myself in a buggy situation, I’m reminded why I study the marine environment. There’s nothing like the salty water, cool breezes, and refuge from terrestrial terrors. You might argue that a jellyfish sting or blue crab pinch is just as bad as a swarm of mosquitoes, but I wouldn’t agree.
Nevertheless, I found myself walking in the Croatan National Forest last week with my Watershed Science and Policy class. I guess if I’m going to love the water, I have to love the land as well.
Day 1: National Forest Pocosin Streams
Our search for pristine streams led us down a long dirt road and through managed forest areas. Over the next three weeks, we will compare these pristine waters to those near tree plantations, farms, and developed areas.
Day 2: Open Grounds Farm
Look at an aerial photo of Carteret County, and you can’t miss it. At about 50,000 acres, Open Grounds Farm is the largest farm east of the Mississippi. And it’s right here in our backyard!
As we rolled down the farm’s dirt and gravel road, I looked out at the never-ending fields and was awestruck at the scale of agriculture surrounding us. Although corn, soybeans, wheat, and other row crops are commonly grown on these great fields, we saw none. Instead, we searched for flashboard risers, drainage ditches, canals, and wetlands; namely, the farm’s water filtration and control structures.
Day 3: Back Creek
After 2 days of land-based field excursions, we finally made it onto the water. Soon we found our way up the Intracoastal Waterway with trawl and water sampling equipment in hand. Along the way, we learned first-hand about biotic and abiotic estuary dynamics.
Stay tuned for a summary of this week’s exciting adventures!
To come: Exploring forestry, fun with wetlands, and…did I hear someone say “stream assessment?”