Hello readers, welcome back to another exciting installment of “Michelle and Alexis following protocol by basically hanging out”. This week we settled in together and did a lot of what we like to call “anticipreparation”. This is when you are so wound up with anticipation you start preparing and packing for something you do not really know the details of. Due to the ever-changing nature of our situation we have to adapt to a lot of unknowns. We spent a lot of time filling out more paperwork and spending our mandatory quarantine time together. Luckily for Alexis, Michelle is incredibly entertaining to be around so the week has flown by. We’ve spent some time outside calibrating a pair of new binoculars, enabling each other’s oreo addiction, and using up some old firewood to make s’mores around a fire pit.

Most importantly this week we started gathering our supplies for field work. Packing went relatively smoothly. We delved deep into the field supply closet and scaled the shelves (according to OSHA guidelines of course) to find all sorts equipment we did not know existed. Between the two of us calling back and forth items off our list, we managed to gather up what we will be using to complete our work. Doing health assessment on turtles requires a LOT of test tubes, microscope slides, blood-draw equipment, and field kits to carry our supplies from site to site. With the help of some lab mates we got everything organized in giant coolers that we will load up in our car when we leave.

We are hoping to leave for Kane County sometime this week so we also packed our personal items so we are ready to leave as soon as we get the okay. At the advice of students from previous years we packed lots of sunscreen, bug spray, and long tube socks. Not many people know this about biologists but we all have an intrinsic fashion sense. It is a cross between a dad about to mow the lawn and an Appalachian trail hiker. A good pair of boots, tall socks, t-shirts, and pants with way more pockets than we need, are the official gear of your summer turtle-finders. The waders we will be wearing while standing waist deep in rivers are already waiting for us at our site. We can’t wait to get them on and get our feet wet, (figuratively because, you know, we have the waders on). Stay tuned next week for our first experiences out in the field.