Field Schooling with two stowaways

This post is almost two years late, but an important one to document. Two summers ago (in a pre-Covid world) I was in a state of flux. I was wondering if I would be healthy and strong enough to go on a remote field school while being over 6-months pregnant with twins. Two weeks before our intended departure I got the green light from the doctors. It wasn’t without its risks but I was allowed to go with the understanding that I should be taking a few more precautions than normal. It was an amazing and memorable week for me and feel very grateful I was able to participate with my little kiddos coming along for the journey. It certainly wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the other instructor, teaching assistant and students, for which I am very thankful. The kiddos were born healthy and happy late in 2019.

Here are some things I learned about being pregnant at remote field camp!

  1. Bring extra tights and pants! I literally grew out of two pairs of pants over the week. Halfway through the field school the snap buttons and velcro on my hiking and camp pants (that had held on all summer) had reached their maximum. During the last few days maternity tights were my only option.
  2. Bring an extender for your backpack …. same thing as above goes for your backpack waist strap.  It is not really possible to ‘suck it in’ with a belly full of babies. By day 8 it felt pretty tight down there.
  3. Slow and steady ‘wins the race’ with the bonus of being able to take in more of your stunning surroundings! I had to go slow. Not only because I was tired with decreased lung capacity but I had to keep my heart rate as low as possible for the safety of me and the kiddos.  I was never winning any races hiking up the glacier or nunatak but slow and steady got me to where I needed to be every day.  It is possible. Take breaks and look around you, the world is beautiful.
  4. Starry starry night! When you are regularly forced out of your tent in the middle of the night to visit ‘the little girls room’, you get to take in the stunning galaxy of stars above you. This was a view that I had missed in previous years at the site because I didn’t have to ‘go’ (so to speak). Ellie Gouldings version of ‘Starry starry night (Vincent) ‘ became by internal soundtrack during these outings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3_spbo8eVc
  5. Rhythm of the glacier. I get to tell my kiddos that they were moving a grooving to the same rhythm of a rumbling glacier in the middle of the night. It was fun to experience natures soundtrack with them.
  6. You don’t have to be graceful. Bending over seems so simple but becomes very hard to do throughout pregnancy. Getting in and out of the main camp tent was probably one of the harder things I had to do over the week. It required an awkward bend and step over the entrance that was usually accompanied by a few grunts, groans and trips. Laughs were had by all.
  7. I needed a rest day and that is okay. After a 3 days of exploring I needed a day to take it easy. Thankfully our schedule allowed me to stay behind to do this. It was hard to watch the students head off to a place I would have loved to have seen again and spent the day but it was required and I don’t regret it. It makes me think that in life we should feel less guilty about taking ‘rest days’ to help us get through the hectancy of  life.

17/30 days spent field schooling

Over the last 30 days I have spent 17 of them teaching field schools. Yikes! From the beaches of Tofino to the peaks at Mount Washington Ski Resort A LOT of meteorological concepts were discussed. A BIG thank you to all the Community members, Industry Partners and our Department for supporting such impactful (and fun) learning experiences for the students (and myself). I am also thankful for the students who participated in these courses. Their positivity and enthusiasm for learning was contagious! Thanks for giving it your all.

Next stop for field schooling … Bridge Glacier 3.0 in September. Have you applied yet?

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Here’s to new adventures in 2019!

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At the beginning of the year I made a promise to myself to do more of what I love, while also trying new things. It was a challenging year at times but one I will look back on with some wonderful memories. From weekend getaways, travel with inspiring friends, volunteering as an owl taxi and so much more…

There were too many ‘moments’ to choose from but here are my #topnine from 2018. Here’s to new adventures and #selfcare in 2019!

Mountain Meteorology Field School – coming 2019!

I am so excited to announce that I am offering a Mountain Meteorology Field School next year. Spend your Reading Break in the Winter term at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort learning about mountain weather processes, snowpack, avalanche hazards and so much more! Students do not need previous ski or snowshoe experience, just positive attitudes and a willingness to get outside and try new things!

Plan ahead and apply early! Space is limited.

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Snow day in Victoria

Although we were not slated to start topic 5 ‘snow hydrology’ in class until mid-March, mother nature had other plans. Snow days are not common in Victoria. So through the TOTALLY EXCELLENT suggestion of a student, it was decided we should spend some of the class outside. A few discussions on cloud microsphyics and how water flows through snow, followed up with the science of snowman building made for a great class! Thanks everyone!

Coastal Meteorology – Last day

We were treated to live weather briefings from Environment and Climate Change Canada Forecasters, collected data in a record breaking atmospheric river event in Tofino, learned about traditional ways of understanding weather, heard from the coast guard on weather hazards and spent two days surveying the Schooner Cove Dune system in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve which had been significantly modified during the ‘largest waves on the planet’ event two weeks ago. ¬†It has be wet, busy, but awesome! So impressed with our group of students. They worked hard, maintained positive attitudes in challenging field outings and supported each others learning. This course wouldn’t have been possible without the huge support from our community partners. Thank you! Looking forward to teaching more courses in future Clayoquot Sound Field Semesters.

Coastal Meteorology Day 1 – Colours of the Rainbow

Day one – success. Learning from an Operational Meteorologist in the morning, followed by an explore of coastal microclimates, and finally dune morphology. In addition, the students were treated to a terrific presentation about being a Tofino Ambassador. Notice the BRILLIANT arrangement of the students in the group photo at Schooner Cove – colour spectrum of a rainbow!

Clayoquot Sound Field Semester Begins!

Last week, 20 students from Uvic Geography settled into their new home for the next 4-months – Tofino, BC. We would like to recognize and thank the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations for hosting the Field School on unneeded traditional territory of Tla-a-o-qui-aht, Ahousaht, Hesquisht, and Ucluelet First Nations, the first peoples of the lands and waters. We would also like to thank all of the community partners and supporters of the conception of this program. Students have begun to engage in their first of 6-courses that will be offered over the term. I look forward to see them all again in a few weeks when I will return to teach ‘coastal meteorology’.