Stuck at home, Roger keeps alive the hope of returning to fieldwork. Obviously, he wants my thoughts on:
What are your top tips for planning fieldwork during a pandemic?
I see you started the long and costly process of planning remote fieldwork, only to have it cancelled by a pandemic. Given the huge uncertainties you have two big options ahead of you (and no middle group of course, because balance is overrated):
Micromanage everything Make sure to fill out at lest three 50-page risk assessments, with the extra COVID19 questions from your institution. Think long and hard on the impact of taking a bus vs the train to the airport, or the impact of getting the elevator vs the stairs once you get to the terminal. Plan ahead carefully your daily calories, your mapping routes, and your plan B mapping routes in case it rains. And your plan C in case there is a mudflow. And your plan D in case a tornado hits. As you can see, once-in-a-lifetime natural hazards might impact your work so make sure you thoroughly overthink about each possible scenario. Try and predict every insect bite and traffic delay and exhaust the letters of the alphabet with your plans. Then, and only then, you’ll be able to maybe undertake your fieldwork…
Que sera, sera Get hyped by the science and leave the admin details to the Universe. Book one way flights to your dream fieldwork destination and consider writing up your field report from a remote mountain village. Why come back and face the hassle of transporting samples and yourself through a pandemic? Truly embrace the work from home mantra and make your favourite outcrop your home. You can even get a pocket optical microscope or a table top scanning electron microscope (SEM) shipped to your field camp. Once the pandemic is over, you’ll emerge an enlightened geologist. The risk assessments will be way shorter if you undertake only ‘one way’ fieldwork.
The Sassy Scientist
PS: Why not jump on the programming in lockdown bandwagon and learn some useful skills for your geoscience career?
PS2: Written from the back of a mule so excuse the delay in uploading times…