Once I heard that I had been funded by Interact, I started to make preparations for my trip. The first thing was to obtain permission to collect samples from certain areas; luckily this was quick and easy (much easier than the days, weeks and months of arranging paperwork that I am used to when working in the tropics).
The next thing to do was to work out the most appropriate dates to travel and, once my flights had been bought, I needed to book accommodation in Helsinki as I could not travel all the way to Kevo in one day. Then I needed to arrange bus transport (much easier when you don’t have to keep referring to a map to work out where places are) to Kevo field station and then on to the next site at Oulanka.
Closer to the departure, I checked and prepared my equipment. I have recently been in Malaysia doing similar work, so I had prepared all the equipment that just needed cleaning, and the chemicals and solutions refreshing. Of course, I had all the standard pieces of equipment such as plastic bags, trowel and GPS that I needed, along with some more specific bits of equipment such as the yellow-sticky traps to trap insects and a set of jam jars along with materials to ‘trap’ nitrogen from the soil on a small piece of filter paper. I also needed to phone the manufacturer of the sticky traps to ensure that they did not contain any nitrogen that might complicate any measure of the nitrogen isotope composition of the insects if they had glue still stuck to them when analysed.
Finally, a couple of days before leaving I started to pack my bags (only finishing just before I left the house). One with clothes and some equipment, the other with eighteen jam jars in that all arrived safely (unbroken!) at Kevo.