Eleven students in GEOG3010 spent a busy February reading week at Providence Point lodge near Lanark, ON studying snow and river ice conditions as part of the physical geography winter field camp.
Each day, people arose at 8 am for a full breakfast, and started course activities at 9 am sharp with a weather briefing delivered by one of the project groups. Students then headed out into the field to measure various snow and ice characteristics such as depth, density, chemistry, and temperature, supervised by Professors Burn and Richardson. The evenings were highly work-oriented, often not ending before 11 pm, with students hovered over computers, analyzing data and writing up reports to meet strict deadlines. Amazingly, many participants still had enough energy afterwards to wrap up the day with more outdoor activities like tobogganing and snowshoeing. The weather throughout the week was quite interesting for a winter field camp, with temperatures hovering near -15oC on Monday and climbing above 0oC by Friday, when the group was deluged by a huge rainfall (thankfully, this was after all of the field projects had been completed).
One of many highlights of the week was the chance to play the department’s new quadcopter UAV. It was amazing to see it zoom around, and then fly back unaided to its starting point when it was misdirected too far from the controller. The unit was used to collect aerial images of field sites, and collect photo and video documentation of the week. Students interested in taking GEOG3010 should note that it is scheduled to run every two years, so the next offering is tentatively planned for February 2016.