Portal Rodent Sampling Trips

Trip Description

A Portal weekend consists of two nights of rodent trapping. We fly out Thursday and stay overnight in Tucson. Friday morning, we pick up the field truck and any supplies we need and drive 3 hours to the site. Friday night just before sunset we’ll set traps on half of the site’s 24 plots – this procedure takes about 2 hours. Saturday morning we get up just before dawn and process animals in the full traps. The rodent RA (Ellen or Renata) will be the one actually handling the animals while the volunteer records data and assists with equipment. Volunteers can handle “exiled” rodents if they are interested. Saturday night, we’ll set traps on the other half of the plots, and Sunday morning will be the same as Saturday morning. Sunday afternoon, we’ll break camp and head back to Tucson, stay in a hotel again, and fly back on Monday morning.

Things a volunteer should bring:

  • Sleeping bag (and sleeping pad, though we have some extras in the truck)
  • Headlamp
  • Hiking boots
  • Field pants (lots of thorny plants at the site)
  • Long sleeve shirt for sun protection
  • Hat/sunglasses (for shade from the sun, and also for the chilly evenings/mornings)
  • Water bottle
  • Rain jacket
  • Chapstick
  • Something to keep yourself occupied during down time (book, music, etc.)

Some other things to keep in mind:

  • We take care of all the food and related items (you don’t need to bring coffee, snacks, plates, utensils, etc. unless you want to)
  • This is a rustic camping situation, meaning no bathroom facilities and no water supply except what we bring in (we have several large jugs we can fill for drinking and washing dishes).
  • It may be quite cold in December - January (it has been known to freeze overnight)
  • It will definitely be quite hot in May - August
  • There is somewhat limited cell reception at the site, depending on your carrier
  • If you love plants, consider coming down for our week-long plant censuses in March and August

All the forms

Travel Authorization - to be turned in prior to trip

  • send to the WEC fiscal team (wecfiscal@ifas.ufl.edu) at least a week before travel
  • anyone traveling to the site (rodent RA, volunteer, etc.) will need one filled out

Travel Expense Report - to be turned in after trip

  • send to the WEC fiscal team (wecfiscal@ifas.ufl.edu) and cc Glenda for approval
  • as with the travel authorization, both the rodent RA and volunteers will need one

P-card invoice record - to be attached to Pcard purchases

Record of Volunteer Service - to be turned in prior to trip

  • this is for every volunteer, whether or not they will be handling animals
  • send to WEC’s human resources person (currently Dan Deep, ganderindan@ufl.edu)
  • have the volunteer fill out the top portion; the rodent RA can act as the supervisor for the second half

Supervisor Checklist - to be turned in prior to trip

  • this is also for every volunteer, where you declare whether or not the volunteer will be handling animals (usually not)
  • you can do the INOP online: https://connect.ufl.edu/ehs/occmed/pages/inop.aspx; mention to the HR person that you have completed this form
  • your volunteer will need a UFID. Email WEC’s HR person (Dan Deep, ganderindan@ufl.edu) with your volunteer’s name, current address and date of birthday

Animal Contact Form - only needed if volunteer will be handling the animals.

  • only rodent RAs and volunteers who are starting projects at the site will need this form filled out
  • tetanus shot is required

Field Vehicle Log - All mileage logs (original, scanned, or a picture) must be submitted to WECFiscal@ifas.ufl.edu monthly. You have until the 5th of the month to provide the prior month to WECFiscal@ifas.ufl.edu. Please be sure to fill out all fields of the logs completely and accurately including the project number to be charged. Use a separate sheet for each month and DO NOT combine months on the same log. Also, if the vehicle is not used during the month, we will still need the vehicle log with the latest mileage with No Use written on the log.

Vehicle Safety Required annually. Do this when you get the truck serviced/oil changed. Fill out form and submit at Motor Pool » Facilities Services.

More information on travel at UF can be found here

List of people interested in volunteering

  • Elise Morton
  • Wes Boone
  • Katie Hooker
  • Lauren Trotta

Downloading tags

  • You need a Windows machine with BioTerm installed. The weather station laptop works.
  • Connect the scanner using the USB adapter.
  • Open BioTerm. Make sure the BAUD rate is 9600. Select Open.
  • Using the scanner, press READ, then MENU until it says “Downloaded tags”. Press the down arrow, then READ. It will ask if you want to send all tags. Press READ. The tags should appear in the BioTerm text box. You may need to squeeze the adapter into the scanner so you get a really secure connection (the screw is really difficult to turn all the way). In theory you can also type “G” into the BioTerm text box and the tags will appear, but Renata has mixed success with this.
  • Save the newtags in the Portal dropbox.