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Merry (blue-)berry, it is time to be thankful….

It has become calm around the ConFoBi Plots in the past weeks, since most of the fieldwork was completed in the autumn months. The time has come for the plants, bats, bees and birds to relax and go about their own business, without nasty curious scientists stepping around their terrain… (I am confident they are having a secret party and we are not invited…) The summer was long and the field season exhausting and everyone is happy to get a break from the forest, I guess. I am, at least. The project B2 has been out from May to October, collecting data on ~70 plots in 18 locations per plot. A whole bunch of leaves (about 9,000…) is sitting in the storage, waiting to be analyzed and processed, to tell us more about the filtering of plant functions across the differently managed stands. B2 has calmed down, from sometimes 8 HiWis at a time, to 3 student helpers for the winter. From roughly 4 hours spent in the car, we went to 0 (thank you homeoffice…) and from 13 hours on our feet, we went down to 8 hours – at a desk.  From late nights in the office, moisturizing the samples, to no late nights and early bedtime. From climbing the steepest slopes in the dense understory and picking up dozens of ticks after a day out, we went to quiet walks in the forest, covered in snow, enchanting us with its calmness and beauty. But wait a second, this sounds like field work is a horror and everything’s better in winter?! Maybe? No! I am just kidding. Definitely not what I am trying to get across here. Instead, I want to press pause for a second, sit back, and remember all the good stuff…
So here is what I am thankful to this year:

  • I am grateful to all the student helpers, for their reliable help and a smile, whenever I was desperate.
  • I am thankful for stackoverflow, never could’ve done it without you! ( R-lovers can relate… ;) ) 
  • I am thankful for everyone in the administration, dealing with my chaos of contracts, forms and applications J .
  • I am thankful for everyone in ConFoBi, being able to switch from the smartest to the silliest people I know, in a way that makes work a joy and not a duty.
  • I am thankful for the blueberries in the forest, having provided me with an all-time possibility to snack, even in the hungriest moments.
  • I am thankful for being a botanist, because plants to do not move (far, at least..) and they never let you down.

And finally, I am thankful for an early winter, covering all these little friends, so that my brain could shut off the species – identification machine for a while, and focus on skiing…

Let’s start the new year with joy and no remorse, hope and no fear, no restraint, but marvel and inspiration.  

Happy 2021, everyone! 


by Sara Klingenfuss (B2)