Sunday, June 26

What the Heck are We Doing Out Here Anyway?

The Pressers: These hard-working souls are David, Alex, Anna, and Nick. They are the pack mules of the group. The Pressers have to pack paper, blotter paper, and the wooden slats with straps with them on a field day. Once someone collects an actual plant, usually the process photographer, the Pressers go to work. The first thing to do is separate the plants so the florescence, or the plant's flowers, are clearly visible. One Presser places them on a piece of paper with a number assigned by the Recorder (see below) on it, while the other Presser puts a blotter, which absorbs water, on the paper. Then comes a piece of cardboard for structure, and the whole process starts over again with the next collection of a different species. We usually aim to fill at least three pages with pressings of an individual species.

The Process Photographer: Dammy and Erin are these amazing photographers. They are in charge of taking photographs of the whole process of collecting, recording, and pressing plants. These photos include pictures of the collected plant, its surrounding habitat, the people collecting it, and whatever else suits the photographer's fancy. At the end of the day, these process photographs create a wonderful visual record of all of the daily activities.

The Close-Up Photographer: These artistic individuals are Rachel and Evan N. In charge of taking pictures of the collected plant, they create detailed, close-range images of the plant as well as ones taken mid-range and farther away. Needing a more complex camera than the process photos, this job requires a good eye for detail and an appreciation for the littler features of the plants and their surroundings. These photographs will later be downloaded into an online spreadsheet. Rachel and Evan's pictures capture the habitat beautifully and also provide professional-looking photographs of plant themselves.

The Recorder: Evan S. and Boone are the detail scribes of the team. In this job, one cannot mess up without setting back the entire group. The Recorder is in charge of creating a journal that assigns numbers to each collection, the common and  scientific names of the plants (to the best of our abilities), and an accurate description of the plant, so that if our names are off the botanists at the Smithsonian can still identify them and match the journal to the photos. The Recorder also has to take a "mark," a GPS coordinate of where we collected the plant. They then have to write down the number range of the images the Close-up Photographer took of that particular plant. After the end of a usually tiring day, the Recorder has to rally and catalog all of the newly acquired data into a spreadsheet on one of the computers at the Reserve.

Watch us in action:
Video clip of Rachel and Evan working as Close-Up Photographer and Recorder in the Field, with David helping as a Collector:

Clip of Alex and Dammy doing some pressing in the field:

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