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Lauren Livers in the fieldLauren Livers’ field camp experience was the culmination of her undergraduate study and helped her bring together everything she has learned over the last four years and apply it in a field setting.

Where did you attend field camp? 

I attended field camp at four locations around Alaska: Fairbanks, Healy, Red Rock Canyon, and Limestone Gap in the Talkeetna Mountains.

How did COVID-19 affect your experience of field camp?

Unlike in typical years, we were unable to hire a cook due to COVID-19. Instead we were in charge of cooking all meals for ourselves. As we were usually exhausted from long days, this meant eating a lot of Mountain House and pasta!

What did receiving the J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship mean to you?

Receiving the scholarship allowed me to buy the hiking and camping gear I needed for the variable and sometimes severe Alaskan weather. I was especially appreciative of the high-quality hiking shoes I bought that kept my feet safe and dry during even the longest, wettest days.

What did that experience teach you about the geosciences, yourself, and your future career?

During field camp, I learned so much about working and living as a functioning group. There were a total of 12 students and 3 instructors involved in the field camp, and we all worked hard to come together as a team in order to have the best possible learning experience. I also got acquainted with many of the environmental challenges that come with mapping in Alaska. This includes, but is not limited to snow in July, rain water in our mapping tablets, sudden thunderstorms, and a ridiculous amount of mosquitoes. I learned that even with the myriad of challenges and difficulties, I really love fieldwork and I hope to be able to do more in the future.

What opportunities did attending field camp provide that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?

Attending field camp gave me the opportunity to experience flying in a two-person plane and camping for 2.5 weeks completely in the wilderness. I also learned how to use StraboSpot and a Jacob’s Staff, both things that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. The camp really solidified my ability to use a Brunton as well.

In your opinion, how important is field camp for geoscience students?

Field camp is really important! Writing our final report on Limestone Gap, Alaska, forced me to use skills from all four years of my bachelor’s degree along with the new things I learned while mapping. This showed me how much I’ve learned over the years and it felt great to be able to bring it all together into a final project.

Why should individuals support field camp opportunities for students?

Even though field camp is so important, it is really difficult to be able to go. Not only is the tuition expensive on its own, but the gear that students need in order to have a safe camp experience can be overwhelming. My field camp was over the course of almost two months. This made getting a job this summer really difficult, which put an additional financial strain on me. Some of my fellow students had to take time off of their full-time jobs or leave their families for the duration of the camp. All of these factors make field camp out of reach for some students. It is only through the generous support of groups and individuals that these students are able to attend. It is important that all geo-students have the opportunity to put what they’ve learned in the classroom to the test in the field!


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