The emotional and physical connection scientists sustain with their field sites, organisms, or questions are rarely translated into the final research product or publication. Scientists who conduct field research almost always develop a deep connection with the landscape and the people who work there. They form strong identities with the place or system where they work, which feeds their dedication to understand and research the place, the services it provides, and how to mitigate its loss by climate change.

For me, that place is becoming the Jornada Experimental Range, a northern Chihuahuan grassland transitioning to shrubland located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. My relationship with my field site is filled with deep love, physical struggle, and intense curiosity. The Jornada has given me beautiful friendships, treasured memories, and a deep sense of introspection that has contributed greatly to personal growth. In this project, I present the process behind one of my dissertation topics through a personal lens. My goal is to help the viewer see what accompanies science in between the rigidity of the rigorous methods and processes we must follow to ensure credibility. My goal is to build trust with my viewers, to help them understand why I conduct science, and to visually and emotionally connect them to the Jornada.


Courtney Currier

About Courtney Currier

Courtney Currier is an ecologist researching the determinants and effects of ecosystem sensitivity to drought. She conducts rainfall manipulation experiments and long-term climate studies in southwest drylands. Courtney is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Life Sciences at Arizona State University. She received her BSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of Notre Dame and her MSc in Biology from Arizona State University. Previous research topics include: ecological stoichiometry and subsidy effects of Pacific salmon in stream ecosystems.


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