It is now 2015 and I hope that your January is going well. It is exciting to be beginning a new year and to continue finishing up my master’s. Things are going well in that regard. At the end of the month, I will be attending a local land managers conference and will be giving a half-hour talk on my research and its implications for management of Pitcher’s thistle in the region. It is a one day conference on the 31st. If you are interested in more information, please click here. I will also be presenting a related talk at the annual meeting of the Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration on March 28th (the meeting is from the 27th-29th; more info here).
As it is the start of a new year, many people, myself included, make resolutions to help improve themselves and their lives. In that regard, I have a few resolutions to work on professionally. One of these is using twitter. I have had a twitter account for a few months now that I have been using to silently follow people and organizations that are relevant to my work and interests, and I have just updated it to a functional account (you can find it here). Although I have not yet sent out a tweet of my own, I have found this to be an incredibly useful resource for learning about a wider variety of events, publications, and trends in ecology and restoration that I might otherwise have missed. As with any resource, however, how much one gets out of it depends on what one puts in. In that regard, I hope to not only follow others, but to start to post things that others may find helpful or useful.
Another professional resolution I have for the coming year is to experiment with more coding languages. I have experience with R and SQL, but in discussions with a few people around, I think it would be helpful to be better versed in a broader array of languages, at least at a basic level. It can be especially useful for ArcGIS which has a python prompt that, when I become more familiar with it, may be helpful in spatial analysis. Aside from its usefulness for Arc, learning more about a different programming language is helpful in our increasingly digital world, particularly with the rise in big data in the ecological sciences.
In other news, a new quarter is starting here at Northwestern, and I will again be TAing one class. While this is certainly a time commitment, I have found that I can easily incorporate it into my schedule around all the other work that I have to do. I am also, just for fun, auditing a class on plant evolution. I decided not to take it for credit because I have enough credits for to graduate and if I have to miss a class due to other obligations, it is less of a problem this way. It is taught by Pat Herendeen, our departmental paleobotanist, and should be a fun class.
That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by, and I wish you productivity in this new year.