This weeks research was a little different from the other weeks. This week we were told that we need to capture 20 male and 20 female frogs for evaluation. It didn't matter where they were caught, we just needed to get them. In order to reach this tall order we ventured through unknown territory (we searched in a few forests that we haven't been to yet). We found some frogs in these new forests, but even with this we still were unable to get the 40 frogs. There was nothing we could do about it. Either the frogs are at the top of the trees (where we are unable to reach), or they're under the leaves on the ground. Either way it is difficult finding these tree frogs. However, we got some more recorders now to help us hear where the frogs are (so we can at least hear that they are there even if we can't see them).
After the work week and data collection we had the opportunity to visit the Ecological Institute with Dr. Jang and some other students. Over the weekend families from around Korea (little kids, middle school age and younger) came to the Institute for the weekend to learn about the animals, bugs, and nature in Korea. Our goal was to help the kids learn in a fun way.
We arrived to the Institute on Friday. On the first day we visited the Ecoplex to become familiar with the building, and to see the animals and plants that they had. The building included a photo exhibit along with 4 different biomes of nature to show the different animals that live in each. We went on a self tour, so the photos that I took will help show the Ecoplex better.
We were also shown to our rooms on the first day, and my first impression was "wow". The room included two bathrooms with showers, a large flat screen tv, air conditioning, a large bedroom, small porch, and a window screen that was controlled with the push of a button. I wasn't expecting this, but wasn't complaining.
To finish the day, at night we helped Dr. Jang capture some insects near our rooms to show the kids the next day. Also, something culturally different, we (the Korean researches and us american students) gathered in a circle and had beer and chicken. We all exchanged names and something about ourselves and then began eating (for the second time that night) and drinking. We played some games and got to know each other a little bit (from the limited communication that we could exchange). Overall it was a very fun night, and I would have to admit that sitting down and drinking with the older Korean researchers and professors was something different from what I've ever experienced in the United States, but was very fun and I was glad that they wanted us to join them.
Saturday was the day the families arrived. Our job more specifically included making a game called 20 questions for the children to try and guess an animal. The children were in groups of about 5 people (also the parents of the children) and one of them would pick out a card (that we had prepared with an animal written on it) and the group would try to guess what the animal is by asking yes or no questions. After they got the animal we would sign their booklets so they could continue on with their journey through the Ecoplex. The experience was very cool because the kids seemed to be very excited seeing foreigners. This lasted for about 4 hours. Later that night, we (us americans and the other group leaders) took two groups each and went around the Institute searching for the singing insects and whatever other bugs we could find. The kids were excited and eager to collect anything they could find. They weren't afraid to pick up anything. Even I'm afraid to pick up some of the bugs, but these kids were fearless. They loved it, making it a better experience for me also.
The next morning the kids presented their findings in the auditorium, but the whole thing was in Korean so we were told that we could just wait in our rooms until it was done. This concluded our weekend excursion. The experience was very fun, and I'm thankful that Dr. Jang gave us the opportunity to be a part of it.