Monday, October 6, 2008
Getting paid to wear assless chaps, or Why I love ecology
*Yep, I got paid to wear assless chaps today for work...*
*I know you're dying of curiosity... keep reading*
So the project I'm a part of down here in the southeast involves habitat restoration experiments. For some of these systems, this means the periodic clearing of brush and small saplings and subsequent controlled forest fires. Fire plays a really important role in the regeneration and maintenance of many traditional plant communities and habitats.
*Wait for it...*
Being a lowly research tech, today I was assigned to help clear out these "small" saplings (trees can grow awful fast in a year! Mostly oaks, cherry, sassafras, and various nut trees) from some of our experimental plots. So I spent all day using one of these to clear brush. Hot, tiring, sweaty, smelly, loud work involving quite a bit of physical exertion. And, as part of my personal protective equipment (PPE as the red tape calls it around here), I had to wear these assless "chaps" made of a special fabric that stops saw blades (useful for if you slip with a chain saw and try to cut off your leg or something). Usually the buckle right on over the top of everything, although mine was messed up today. Oh ecology - runs the gamut of skills and talents needed in the pursuit of science, ranging from power tools to electrical knowledge, genetic analysis to mathematical modeling... And involving so many fun toys (not talking just about DBH tapes here...)!
Also, the air conditioning in our apartment makes me think of the sound of the brush saw engines revving and cutting - that's how you know you did the same thing for too long a time period!
Another country heard from...