Tools for Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Field Biology:
(Note: As of Fall, 2013, only Units II and III are active. Other Units will be added over the coming months.)

I. Scientific Inquiry: How to identify a research topic, question and hypothesis

II. Fundamentals of Field Sampling: How to design a field study

III. Graphing and Statistics: How to interpret your data using MS Excel

IV. Communicating Your Results: Tips for writing effective papers and making clear presentations

  maps of region where we're living

August 22, 2013, from Chaukori: Morning Tea

We're living in a guest house associated with the Himalayan Public School in Chaukori. The front side of the guest house has three units . . . a tri-plex. April and I share one unit, Isaiah has the next unit, and an Indian family shares the third. Each unit is small, but adequate, with a bedroom/living room, a bathroom with toilet and waste-high spigot and buckets (no bath or shower), and a small simple kitchen (sink and one propane burner - no fridge or other appliances).

Front view of the triplex we share with an Indian family in the background is their breakfast cooking on an open fire in the foreground are my tea, seat and binocs (and a random dog):

Early morning view of the house and fields just below the guest house (the large tree in the foreground is a chetsnut):

Each morning we like to sit outside in front of our unit and drink tea, and watch the birds and the mist, and wait for the clouds to lift and maybe give us a glimpse of Nanda Devi, the highest peak in the Indian Himalayas.

A Black-headed Jay, one of the more common birds here:

Isaiah in front of our neighbors' unit catching a glimpse of a couple of peaks between the clouds:

Though our Indian neighbors have very little in the way of wordly posessions, they're quick to share what they have, bringing us cups of chai on our first morning here before we had the means to make our own tea, and recently bringing us a plate of freshly roasted chestnuts. It feels odd to be watching birds through my Leica binoculars or taking photos with my digital SLR, both of which are likely worth more than anything this family has ever owned. Yet I think the hangups are mine. I don't sense any resentment or ill will. And though our neighbors clearly work hard for their basic needs, growing and harvesting much of their food and cooking over open fires, we often hear them laughing together, grandparents, grandchildren, and other extended family. They have little material posessions, but they have time together. As Prakash (the director of the school here) told me and April on our first full day at the school when we asked what we could do to help, "There is no hurry. This is India - there is time."

Here we have time, much more time, though no less precious, than we have in the States. And after all, what's more valuable, my Leicas, or time?

This site created and maintained by
Dr. Rhine Singleton
Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science
Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, NH 03461
You can contact me at: singler at franklinpierce dot edu