… and here is the first field report from our PhD candidate Karin Lillevold:
Greetings from the mountains in Dovrefjell! I have now been in the field for a few weeks, and experienced a lot already. I am based at the Wild Reindeer Centre and have followed the national park managers and others as they plan and discuss the management of the national park, how to raise awareness of the threatened wild reindeer, and how to deal with the muskox and the tourists that it attracts. I am doing multispecies ethnography with participant observation and interviews in and around Dovrefjell until September this year. My main research objective is how nature is performed through acts of conservation and management, and I am using the muskox as a prism to understand this. It is a really fascinating area to do research in with a lot of discussions taking place, especially concerning muskoxen and reindeers, and how to channelize the hiking traffic.
Being situated in the mountains, at 1000 masl, it has also been fascinating to witness the arrival of spring and summer day by day – the birch trees greening, the snow patches melting, flowers blooming, the cuckoo cuckooing in the birch trees, and last but not least the muskoxen with their calves down in the birch forest. Later in summer they move higher up into the mountains. I have also found some of their very soft wool. They are shedding their winter layer at the moment. I have seen several muskoxen already, both grown ups and small calves, and one of them even in an old barn! No wonder some people might think they are domesticated! I have also seen some wild reindeer far away, and learnt that you need a trained eye to notice them – and good binoculars!
I am looking forward to what more I will explore during the summer!