Our next field week took us to Stephen A. Forbes State Park in Illinois for a week of stumbling upon turtles and camping under the stars! With a forecast of thunderstorms for the duration of the week we were prepared for an exciting few days. We left school at 5AM with a caravan of students and supplies packed to the brim to arrive at the state park and start our hike by 8AM.
We managed to make it through fieldwork, the examinations and workups, lab work, and dinner before the thunderstorms came in. By that time our tents were set up so we all gathered in one of the two trailers to play some cards and wait out the rain. It turned out to be a massive storm that rained sideways and soaked two of our tents. Luckily, we all stayed dry inside and played a few intense games of Eucher. We did our best to give moral support to John, who was stuck in the other trailer working on his summer project with involves many ours of lab work.
The rest of the week was dry during the day with some showers at night which meant great weather for turtling! They really start to move when it warms up after a rain which means there are more scent trials for the dogs to follow. Our group of students was well experienced at this point in the summer so all examinations and work-ups went smoothly and quickly.
We did run into some evidence of turtle: tracks in the sand and bites out of one of their favorite treats – mushrooms! While we didn’t have much luck finding turtles with our own eyes, the turtle dogs didn’t have much difficulty.
With the summer so successful already, we quickly reached our maximum amount of turtles for the week. After just 3 days out in the field, we packed up and returned to Champaign.