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Fieldwork Short: Earning a Field Name

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

There are lots of awesome, quirky routines and traditions that tend to become associated with field work but none seems to me to be more celebrated than the earning of a field name. For those not immersed in the field world, I must explain that the earning and giving of a field names is not the same as a mere nickname but rather is swathed in a ceremonious cloak who’s fabric is woven of great field tales and likely embarrassing incidents.

Häslein's first field day on this project

Okay, I might be getting a little melodramatic here but the field name is a great honor much like hikers earn when they are on a long through-hike. Years have gone by without a good one ever sticking for me so I am excited to report that I have finally earned not one, but two compounded field names this season AND had the privilege of granting a field name to my awesome research assistant, Yvan.

My field name, Häslein (aka FBK) can be broken into two parts. The FBK part stands for Flags, Bags, and Keys and was my original field title because I A) liked to wave around pin flags wildly in celebration of a completed survey, B) was weirdly good at putting very large plants into small bags, and C) had a kind of bad habit of misplacing keys in the field *ahem.* Later, Häslein was added because it is the diminutive German word for rabbit and it was said more than once that I was an “energizer bunny” because of the long field days I liked to pull and because my field assistant liked to speak German on occasion (haha).

Good Eye excited about grass ID

I dubbed my assistant Yvan “Good Eye” because they had this AMAZING knack for finding just the plant species we hadn’t gotten to sample as soon as we needed it and they often found my keys when I misplaced them *ahem.* Anyways, that’s the origin stories for our field names in case you notice them in future posts. Do you have a cool field/hiker/nick- name to share with a story behind it? I’d love to hear what everyone out there goes by!

Cheers! – Häslein (aka FBK, aka Sienna)

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