Ecologists often have to design some of their equipment for experiments and get creative with materials. I'm in the process of tracking down a few particular items for my next trip, and just found the most amazing website: http://www.mcmaster.com/
If you're like me, you might often have a picture in your mind of what type of thingamabob you need, but don't know what to call it. This website is full of pictures! Need something that looks like a u-bolt? Or special screws? Wire? Cable ties? Plastic mesh? Oh my gosh, this place has everything. This is waaaay better than wandering through Home Depot.
Thanks to Jon for tipping me off to this great resource. I love being married to such a handy man :-)