During my first day of field work, I ran into some rainy weather. Unsurprisingly, this resulted in dozens of Red Efts (the terrestrial form of Red-spotted Newts) to surface and walk about. To ensure I didn’t step on these brightly colored amphibians, I carefully and rather sluggishly moved through the trail system. However, with my attention focused on the forest floor, my eyes began to pick up on the presence of another animal, one which warrants attention. The weight of a giant omnivore, the American Black Bear, left behind cues in the form of large paw prints embedded in the muddy trail. This left me conflicted with where my eyes should be focused. Do I keep my head up and on a swivel? Or do I remain focused on the forest floor where my salamander friends were walking about? To my parents dismay (I assume) I opted to keep my eyes on the ground, optimistic that the Bear was elsewhere focused on eating ants, tea-berries, etc. Besides, in my many encounters with Black Bears, I’ve never been approached or felt threatened by one. They do have my respect nonetheless. I ended the day having seen zero bears and dozens of Red Efts, all of which were alive and well.