My name is Sophia Bass Werner and I am the 2017 mosaics intern for the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. I am originally from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, but have been living in Massachusetts for the past 10 years. You may be wondering why I choose to stay local when applying for this internship. Well, I have a long history with the Boston Harbor Islands I could not let go off. I have worked for them on and off for a period of about 4 years in a variety of internships and temp positions. A year ago, I graduated college from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Environmental Science Bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately I was not able to lock up a permanent position with the park, and for the past year I was in between jobs hoping to find something that focused on my career. To my luck, the Boston Harbor Islands was going to hire an intern through the mosaics internship program, which my previous supervisor encouraged me to apply; and so I did.
Every time I have returned to the Boston Harbor Islands has been incredible! It always is like coming back home. However, this time around will be a little bit different. The past years my work has mostly focused in the management of natural resources. This summer however I will be transitioning into education. My internship this year focuses in enhancing the educational programs for kids of the Greater Boston area, as well as creating a interactive map summarizing the geologic inventory for educational use. I am very excited for this great learning opportunity! I know I will have my ups and downs but I am definitely ready and up for the challenge.
Did you get the Dr. Seuss reference?! Anyways, I am currently living in Fort Columbia State Park in historic housing. Fort Columbia lies near the mouth of the Columbia River and was constructed between 1896 and 1903 as a coastal defense site. The views are breathtaking especially at sunset. My favorite part is the hidden beach at the bottom of the site which I discovered after speaking with some Park Rangers that are also living there. So far, no sign of ghosts!
My first day was a field work day working with local biologists, botanists, The Northern Coast Conservancy and other environmentalists on West Sand Island.
We took a small boat from the dock at Cape Disappointment across the Columbia Bar to the island to observe prairie habitats. Fun Fact: The Columbia Bar is the most dangerous waterway in the world! There is a Maritime Museum in Astoria about shipwrecks!
West Sand Island is a dynamic island that changes drastically during intense weather events and contains many different habitats, including prairies, which we were particularly interested in. We were working to find early blue violets which are prairie flowers that host the Oregon silverspot butterfly eggs. The silverspot is a threatened butterfly that, hopefully by restoring the prairies will repopulate the island. This trip was a great opportunity for me to learn about the invasive plants that threaten native species here.
Some of the invasive plants we encountered were Scotch broom, thistle, Himalayan blackberry, and gorse. We trekked through marshes, walked along the shoreline, wrestled with blackberry vines, battled with mosquitoes and tried to avoid the thick, thorny borse patches. It was a long day but definitely worth the trip, not only did I learn about the native species of the area, but I learned about the work of the various stakeholders working in restoration projects. This was the best first day of work ever!!
I look forward to the rest of my time here seeking adventure everywhere I go and forming connections with all that I meet.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” John Muir
Hi everyone, my name is Ricardo Escobar-Burciaga. I made the move from Los Angeles, CA to Florissant, CO last weekend. To give you an idea of the drastic difference in lifestyle I will be adopting this summer, I moved from a city of more than 4 million people to a town of less than 120 people. The most difficult adjustment is going from checking email/social media accounts hourly in the city to having to drive more than 5 miles away to get decent signal and wifi. Although the remoteness and size of the area is quite a change, my heart has always been in the mountains, so I feel I am adapting quite well.
I could start off by describing my first week at the monument. However, I would like to focus instead on the experience I had during my move to Florissant, CO. Driving across the Colorado Plateau never ceases to amaze me! The sights, the sounds and the friendliness of the people is just incredible! I want to emphasize the fact that we are never in control of the events that take place in our lives. However, how we choose to invite the unexpected is completely up to us. Last Friday evening, on the way to Denver, my friend and I were snowed in Vail, CO (right in the heart of the Rockies) and I-70 was closed. We were supposed to get into Denver that evening to check into our hotel and my friend was to catch her flight the following morning. As you can imagine, I was panicking and concerned with where we would be spending the evening and how long I-70 would be closed for. With help from Susan of EFTA, however, we managed to book a hotel in Vail and made the most of the situation. In the end, we met some very friendly people there, we embraced the beauty the Rockies had to offer and my friend arrived to the airport on time. John Denver was absolutely correct; the purple mountains truly are majestic! And I mean that in all aspects! We made the most out of an unexpected situation!
For a brief insight into what I will be doing this summer; I will be working as an Education Specialist at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. It is one of the richest fossils sites in the world, with over 1500 species of insect fossils! My project will involve developing curriculum geared toward marginalized communities in the greater Colorado Springs area. There will be some component of outreach as well. I am incredibly excited to get started on my project as I am a strong advocate for promoting and increasing diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). I am also looking forward to working with an amazing set of individuals that I had the honor of meeting this past week. Stay tuned for more on the Florissant Fossil Beds next week!
My name is Jacob Villalpando. I just started my new internship at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a pollinator steward. This week was mainly training about the rules and ethics of the park. Working for a federal agency is a different job experience than other experiences I have had. This was the first time that I had to have a key card to log on any computer. My mentor laid out the plan for the summer and I am more excited to get started. Mainly this week we scouted for vernal pools in the woods for another intern’s project. These pools are a type of seasonal wetland that is a wet habitat during the wet season and dried out during the dry season.
On my first day I got to try raspberry cheesecake french toast for lunch. My mentor has been showing other interns and me the layout of the park and what to expect in surveying these areas. My main task for right now is to read primary literature about native bees species and start figuring out what areas in the park would be good sites to sample. Overall, it was a great first week and can’t wait to see what’s next.