I leave for the field today, which seems altogether too soon. Technically, I’ll be at training for a week and field work starts on Monday the 12th. Every once in a while, someone asks me what it means to go out in the field. “So…like…what do you do?” In my experience, the basic equation for explaining field work is usually something like this:
field work = your primary task + a geographic area
This year, my short answer is: Count birds and Colorado. There are many other variables that enter the formula, but they are still largely dependent upon what you’re doing and where. For some of us, this simple equation is the most rewarding aspect of our jobs. Every year, I get to leave the office and collect data in some of the most beautiful places in the country. No desk, no chair, and significantly less face-plastered-to-computer-screen time. It’s awesome. I would make a living off of seasonal field work if it paid more and I didn’t have to move around the country to make a sustainable income (I know many people who do).