Today was our first day back on the job after returning from the University of Virginia on Saturday. This morning we set out for the OARDC around 9am and met with the greenhouse coordinator, Karli Shultz. With the help of Karli and research assistant Kesia, we were able to get started on cleaning up our greenhouse!
The main event of the day was cleaning the swamp cooler, which was pretty gunked up with algae. Using a couple of brooms and a toilet brush, we swept away at the cooler as best we could. We all felt a little uncertain about the whole process, because it seemed that we were only superficially sweeping away whatever dirt and algae stuck to the very surface of the cooler–everything else just seemed to get pushed deeper and deeper. Eventually, with some very helpful advice from Karli, we got the swamp cooler all cleaned up by hosing it down from the outside.
Jack did some great work inside the greenhouse while we were outside cleaning the off the swamp cooler. He pulled weeds, cleaned out the swamp cooler water trough, raised the plant bed, and reorganized the plants to make the greenhouse more walkable. In the end, we think the greenhouse got cleaned up pretty well (and we had a good time)!
After a break for lunch around noon, we reconvened back at Rubbermaid to work on a few other things. Ashley and Sara did an excellent job of unpacking and labeling all of the Ison Lab’s new equipment, including ice packs, clipboards, water containers, microscope slides, and a tent! Meanwhile, Jack and I cleared out space for said equipment and did a little reorganizing in the basement.
Tomorrow morning we will be heading out bright and early to scope out some possible study sites at the Wilderness Center. Hopefully we’ll come across some promising locations!