This morning was our last morning on the BIObus. As I travel west back home, I can’t help but reflect on the unforgettable opportunities, breathtaking views and remarkable experiences we experienced, and I am so grateful for this opportunity. The east coast never ceased to amaze me. Each park we travelled to became my new favourite place, and each amazing view we were subject to seemed to outdo the last. As such, it would be impossible for me to pinpoint my absolute favourite moment or part throughout the trip.
My favourite parts about Fundy National Park were the amazing coastal views that appeared suddenly after a small bend in the road, the sites that tested our athletic ability with steep climbs and complex conditions and the small bakery in Alma, selling the most amazing sticky buns and chocolate peanut butter squares. In Kouchibouguac, we were first introduced to dark sky preserves; the stars here shined brilliantly, and it was easy to appreciate them further with the education we received from a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. In PEI, I appreciated the amazing coasts with sands of red that contrasted with the rust coloured sedimentary rocks along the shoreline. We also experienced Canadian history and culture throughout our time spent here. Kejimkujik National Park had Acadian forests and towering Hemlock trees that were different than any other park, and I was impressed with the network of fast flowing streams and brooks that cut through the land. Here I also appreciated the lengths the park went through to protect the endangered Blandings Turtle; signage, massive speed bumps, turtle monitors, and egg protection was abundant each day. In Cape Breton National Park, we travelled along the Cabot Trail every day to get to our sites; driving along and being exposed to the amazing mountainous scenery and the coasts was definitely one of my favourite parts of the whole trip.
The entire BIObus experience has helped to shape my future aspirations and reassured me that I am in the right field of study. During our travels, I was constantly appreciative of the opportunity to work outdoors, and have realized that I want to continue doing research in the field. Working closely with arthropods has affirmed my interest in insects, inspiring me to pursue this field of study in the future, while working outdoors has reassured my love for the environment. I hope to find a career that will allow me to explore and work closely with both.
The most valuable attributes I have learned throughout this experience can be applied to all areas of my life. I have reinforced my belief in working hard and contributing my best effort; field work can be challenging, but also very rewarding when I can assure myself that a job was done to the best of my ability. I have learned that organizational skills will always be important; through labeling specimens and keeping them in order, recording the data correctly and ensuring everything is consistent, I realized that being organized is a vital aspect of conducting any research and should never be overlooked. Finally, I learned the importance of being a part of a team. I fully appreciate the work that my fellow crew members contributed during our trip, and realize how important they were to the success of our collecting. I am very proud to have been a member of this team, and will never forget this amazing experience!