It is now less than a week until we will board a plane in London for the long flight to New Zealand to meet up with colleagues and undertake the fieldwork for our new project investigating New Zealand’s peat bogs and past climate change. To find out more about exactly what we’re doing in the project please read the previous story in our collection.
Between the project team, we’ve organised and carried out countless fieldwork trips, but I always still find this time period approaching departure is a strange mixture of excitement and trepidation – have I booked and organised everything I need to? Is there some vital bit of kit I should have got hold of which we will only realise is missing when we’re on the middle of a bog and it’s too late?! Let’s hope not! As a researcher involved in studying the past, fieldwork preparation often involves the gathering of lots of heavy and bulky coring equipment to retrieve the deep sediment records that we then study. Although a pain to deal with in transit, having a load of kit with you is at least slightly reassuring. But with this new project, we are just studying the plants growing on the surface of the peat bogs (in particular, the wire rush, or Empodisma to give it its Latin name) to understand more about how they react to changes in climate. This means the pile of kit I have gathered together in my office over the past few weeks (pictured!) is rather small and certainly very un-reassuring!
We have also been spending some time finalising the permissions we need to access all the sites we would like to work on. This is an often complicated task that has been admirably handled by Rewi Newnham at Victoria University, on the ground in NZ. At one site, there are five local stakeholders with a vested interest including two local iwi, conservation and farming interests. Thankfully everything seems to be sorting itself out and it’s great news that some of those interested parties will be joining us out in the field next week. I really believe that as academics funded by the public purse we have a duty to let as wide a range of people as possible know about our research, so this is a great start. To further this goal, we will post several blogs over the next few weeks on different aspects of how the fieldwork is going on the OurFuture site. If you’d like to know any more about the project or have any questions, then please get in touch.