November 2023 Newsletter
Cold Weather Fieldwork at Perennial Environmental Services
At Perennial, our commitment to environmental stewardship and quality services doesn’t slip with the changing seasons. As we transition into the colder, rainier months, our biological services team faces unique challenges while out in the field. We reached out to Jeremiah Bowling, our experienced field coordinator, to catch a glimpse into Perennial’s unwavering dedication to safe and effective work, even in the toughest weather conditions.
Staying Warm in the Winter
Now that winter’s just around the corner, so are shorter days and longer nights, bringing temperatures down and fieldwork with its own unique set of challenges. Luckily, there’s tried and true advice no matter the weather: proper clothing makes all the difference! Jeremiah shares, "I prefer a good toboggan hat and a sweatshirt. That way I can pack them away easily." Some of the locations that we service can have widely fluctuating temperature and weather patterns in the timespan of only hours. The use of rain gear adds an extra layer of warmth, reducing the need to carry additional weight during field surveys.
How Cold is “Too” Cold?
According to Jeremiah, our Perennial team has braved conditions as cold as 13 degrees Fahrenheit in the past. He points out, "Wind chill will quickly send you back into the truck if you don’t have some sort of windbreaker." Without the proper precautions, extreme cold can be just as deadly as extreme heat. Our teams have the autonomy to halt work if conditions become too dangerous, ensuring that our commitment to safety is as steadfast as our dedication to quality service.
How Rainy is “Too” Rainy?
The weather conditions play a significant role in our surveying procedures, come “rain or shine”. Rain complicates field work but doesn't always stop it. "Too rainy [for field work] is another subjective decision," Jeremiah explains. The presence of lightning or equipment issues, like unresponsive touchscreens on wet data collectors, are key factors in deciding whether to continue at any given time. This ensures that effectiveness and safety remain at the forefront of our operations.
The Challenges of Snowy Surveys
Snow, while rare in our usual regions of operation, presents unique difficulties. Jeremiah notes, "Generally if there is snow, we are not surveying." Visibility issues, obscured vegetation, and frozen ground are just a few of the obstacles snow can bring to a location being surveyed. Our approach is cautious, prioritizing the safety of our team and the integrity of our data. Jeremiah continues, “If snow has been on the ground for a long time, the ground may be frozen. We cannot accurately assess soil characteristics if the ground is frozen because we cannot dig through it.”
Winter’s Natural Observations
The approaching winter affects more than just our field staff. In the midst of these challenging conditions, the cold weather offers its own natural spectacles in the form of the adaptations certain species take on in response. Jeremiah shares a specific example: "When it is cold, the possum haw (ilex decidua) will keep its red berries and drop its leaves." We take pride in the knowledgebase and genuine passion our staff has in the “Environmental” aspect of “Perennial Environmental Services”, which includes respecting the living plants and animals that occupy the land we traverse.
At Perennial Environmental Services, our field team demonstrates remarkable adaptability and resilience in the face of any weather combination, all without forfeiting our tried-and-true safety procedures. Our staff is driven by a commitment to understanding and preserving the natural world, regardless of what obstacles are thrown our way. How are you staying warm this winter?
Core Value Recipient of the Month
This month, Panupong Wichan demonstrated the Core Value of Community!
A while back, Panupong Wichan (Senior GIS Analyst) got up in the early morning to drive to Mustang Island to fill in on a field survey. He was a team player and supported our community by his willingness to take on an unfamiliar role and spend a windy day on a kayak probing for depth measurements in the bay. Thanks, Panupong!
Q: What motivated you to volunteer for this opportunity?
Panupong: I was motivated to volunteer for this field job because it was a great opportunity to work on a variety of jobs besides my regular duties. Additionally, I appreciate the hands-on aspect of fieldwork, and I believe it allows me to leverage my skills. I was excited about the challenges and rewards that come with this volunteer job, and I was confident that my dedication would make a positive impression at work whether my action was large or small. Thank you everyone, especially Jeremiah Bowling (Field Coordinator - Biological Services) and Andrea Boero (GIS Director).
Q: What does community mean to you?
Panupong: To me, community captures a sense of interconnectedness and a shared identity within a group of people. Community also means good understanding and creating a “positive attitude” culture that benefits both individual employees and the organization, achieving the company’s goals and making everyone truly happy at work.