Week 3: Gathering Samples

Windy. Rainy. Frosty. As the months change, we’ve noticed a shift in weather this week compared to the previous. However, this didn’t stop the locals and students from visiting the park and breaking routine. When we arrived for our first day this week, we found ourselves walking past different school groups teaching their students about the park and the values of nature.

IMG_6559After we walked for a few minutes, we located our first sampling location and began drilling. While Phill and Lars were drilling, Magda and Emese began to set up the drone for aerial photographs. However, shortly after take-off, it was apparent that the drone would not be able to fly in the high winds that day. The drone returned just in time, because as it landed the rain began. If the drone is exposed to too much water, it could experience electrical problems.

On our second visit the park this week, the wind and rain subsided enough for us to make our first launch with IMG_6592the drone! The drone works for about 20 minutes with one battery to cover an area roughly 30 hectares. Before the battery is completely drained, we return the drone home to replace it with a new battery. While landing it, a curious dog came running over to see what the strange machine was. Dogs will often attack a drone, but thankfully this pupper only remained as a spectator.

IMG_6591Whenever someone is operating the drone, there is another counterpart drilling for soil and groundwater being done. If we are lucky, the water table is less than two metres deep. However, in some cases, we have to drill over three metres until we reach groundwater. Lars is our tallest member of the team, but even he needs help from someone else sometimes.

After we collect our samples, we store them in refrigerators in Avans University to preserve them until testing. While returning returned one day, we met with another student named Yoko. Yoko is working on another project independently, but used some of our samples in her own research. Her results benefit us too because her findings save us time in the lab! We hope to process some of our results soon and will share with you what we discover!

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