MVZ Field Notes: Biologists and the Environment

By Rachel Tenerelli
Second-year Molecular Environmental Biology major

This semester I helped digitize field notebooks for my URAP. Although scanning old field notebooks does not sound like the most glamorous work, I learned how useful this new, accessible knowledge will be to research biologists around the world. The field notes collected by the MVZ are extremely detailed, and though the penmanship can be hard to decipher at times, they provide information on species that may otherwise be unknown to researchers today. I scanned field notes from as far back as the 1920s. The observations from long ago may be able to prove how much an environment we think is untouched by new development can actually change.

After scanning different volumes of field notes for a man named Chester Lamb, I was charged with writing his biography. This turned out to be more difficult than I imagined. Despite all of his research, I could hardly find any information on him. From my many google searches, I gathered snippets of information and formed an idea of what he was like: a dedicated field biologist, hardly known for his tremendous contribution to his field. It is the story of so many field biologists whose time was before the creation of the internet. I was happy to be the person, at least that I know of, to write his biography. It was a very rewarding experience and I am very impressed at how devoted he and other MVZ researchers are to nature.

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