PhD Month Six: The One When I Saw a Wolf

Is it universally agreed that February is the worst month?! Is that why we made it the shortest one?! February 2020 started with an atmospheric rain event and ended with a beautiful bluebird day, and I have successfully battled my way through. I don’t know if it was the sleepless nights, the never ending rain, the homesickness, the project hiccups, the cabin fever, or just February in general, but this has been the most difficult month of my PhD so far (I hope I don’t have too many like this). Anyway, I got some stuff done, and more importantly, I survived.

  1. Saw a wolf!

  2. Helped the field technicians service all the cameras in the northern section of the camera array.

  3. Replaced my laptop battery so now I can write blogs from wherever I like.

  4. Worked on setting up a new collaboration that will allow me to utilise camera data from a wider area outside the Park.

  5. Booked all the outstanding health related appointments for when I get back to Kelowna (dentist, opticians, counsellor, chiropractor).

  6. Trained local citizen scientists on how to identify and collect wolf scat for the genetic/dietary component of the project.

  7. Finally tried a pizza (margherita of course) from Abbondanza - the best pizza place in town.

  8. Networked with senior Parks Canada colleagues.

  9. Went to the gym and ambitiously bought a 10-pass punch card.

  10. Completed the first of four annual reports for my project partners.


I really didn’t get as much of the analysis/computer-based work done as I’d have liked this month. I’m heading back to Kelowna next week though and can focus on these things once I leave the field.

  1. Written a research proposal outline.

  2. Signed up to volunteer at Arion Therapeutic Farm. I’m really hoping to spend some more hands-on time with animals and found this place in Kelowna that is looking for volunteers.

  3. Sent a subset of scat samples to the lab.

  4. Sorted out my taxes – woo fun!

  5. Prepared a talk for the BC TWS (British Columbia Chapter of The Wildlife Society) conference.


February has been an emotional roller-coaster and extremely stressful, so if March could be a bit gentler on me that would be great. I’m looking forward to so many things to come; getting back on a horse and on the rock; hanging out with all my lab mates at a conference; catching up with work and friends in Kelowna; and most importantly, spending two weeks skiing and climbing with James!

Not a bad day in the field.

Spring is on the way!

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Photo Disclaimer: All photographs are property of Sophie May Watts or James Fleming unless otherwise stated.

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