Friday, August 20, 2010

Field ecologist for macroinvertebrates this summer

My job is winding down swiftly, so I thought I should toot my horn while I still had something to toot about. My seasonal position ends Sept 3, in just a couple weeks. I've gotten done pretty much all of my immediate assignments, and now I'm just finding useful things to do. But, with macroinvertebrates, they breed so fast, that the job is never done and always changing.

It's time for a reality check. I work for the local county's Public Health Dept as seasonal help in their Mosquito Control Program. We're not even a Control District. Just a Program. But I feel pretty validated in describing myself as a field ecologist for macroinvertebrates. I observe and study much more than mosquitoes, but these are my primary concern. As is appropriate, considering why I get paid. I crawl through creekbottoms and trudge through wetlands, as well as urban environments such as junk yards and residential neighborhoods. I collect specimens and bring them back to the lab for identification, in addition to applying larvicidal treatments.

Some people would approach this job as simply a job, or as public service, or as healthcare, or even sanitation. I chose ecology, and in fact I am pretty sure that's why I was hired. Because I am willing and eager to get out there and observe what is going on and take action if need be. I'm no expert at this, and hope that I don't sound like I claim to be. But, what I do do is go out into the feild and get my hands dirty. Or muddy, as the case may be.

This job has been a major success for me, even though I admit that it is merely seasonal and not highly paid. It is my first paid position in any ecological field. I was all volunteer with the Tulsa Zoo and Earth Team. Once I had concluded my time at the Tulsa Zoo, I did some introspection, and realized I had no "field experience" volunteer or otherwise. Now, guess what? Bingo.

I certainly don't have everything accomplished that I want. In fact, I can name a number of factors in my life that are very disappointing. But, for now, I am glad about this part of things. Looking ahead, this is a very positive step.

This may not be of interest to anyone, but it's useful for me to get these thoughts out of my head, and typing this is helping me wake up this morning.

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