My field school adventures are now done. We were welcomed on this fifth day with a breakfast of pancakes, hash browns, fresh fruit, bacon, and mixed berry syrup. Once finished breakfast we all returned to Sibbald Meadows Pond to retrieve the sondes we placed on Monday. Retrieval was much easier than placement for three of the four groups since we didn’t have to don the hip waders and enter the water. The peculiar placement of one of the sondes made this exercise necessary for one group, and I got some good pictures of the retrieval. They will be posted on Flickr soon.
With the sondes safely recovered, we connected them to their control devices to stop the logging of data, recorded the necessary information in our field books, and moved on to our next site, which turned out to be… Sibbald Meadows Pond. This time, however, we were looking at the different components of steep slopes – one facing south, one facing north. Our goal was to investigate the types of vegetation on the slope, and where on the slope it is located. We also recorded microclimate information at the top and bottom of each slope (temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity, and wind speed). This exercise was initiated around 09:20, so it was rather crisp and cool. Had we done the work in the afternoon, there would have been a much more marked difference between the two slopes. Even still, the north-facing slope was cooler than the south-facing slope (as expected) and both were warmer at the top than at the bottom.
When we were finished with this, we moved on to our final location to see what happens when steep slopes go wrong. Without an appropriate level of diversity in plant life the soil cannot be held in place and will be washed away. Then rocks and boulders can be loosened and fall down the slope. This can kill any vegetation in the path of the falling rocks. Mitigation methods can include something as simple as terracing in order to reduce water velocity and minimize soil erosion.
Finally we all packed into the vans and headed back to the Field Station for a debrief and lunch. Our final lunch at the station consisted of hamburgers and kababs, veggies, salad, and iced cream with fruit sauce for dessert. After ensuring the dorms were clean and everyone had all their belongings, we packed back into the vans and headed for home. We arrived back at SAIT around 15:00, as planned.
I have posted most of my pictures on my Flickr page already. The photos I took today, however, will be posted this weekend. Thanks for watching.