As we know by now, you can hardly do anything truly on your own. You need a support system. Here at Cabrillo National Monument that same rule applies, especially when it comes down to Science. Yes, there are isolating moments when you are sitting at a desk analyzing data, taking samples or, lets be honest, powering through countless emails that seem to never go away. However, real science requires a team. It requires observing a situation from a multitude of angles and bias, agreeing upon a hypothesis that fits the background research, creating an experiment that fits the given scenario, gathering the results and reporting the data. Alone this may seem like a lot. With a team, it is another challenge worth facing. A team motivates, coordinates and allows your greatest potential to be reached.
Meet my team: Alexandria Warneke, Andrew Rosales and me, Nicole Ornelas. Together we are the Science Education Department. On a weekly basis, we teach hundreds of students (K-12th) about biodiversity, plant adaptations, the rocky intertidal and how we at the National Park Service “do science”. On top of that, we are expanding our curriculum, giving presentations, attending outreach events in the community (no matter how large or small), continuously writing our park blog on the natural resources here at Cabrillo National Monument, connecting with the San Diego County school district through project based learning and much more. It seems like a lot because it is! At times, we stretch ourselves thin. But what gets us through it all, what gets ME through it all, is my team. Any slack left behind is picked up by my teammates. When I am feeling drained physically and emotionally after teaching 100+ students, there is Andrew to talk about the White-Line Sphinx Moth in an “attempted” english accent or Alex to give me a list of what needs to be done next, so my brain can take a break for that extra needed moment.
This summer, with help from my team, we embark on another journey. We will be organizing and running a 2.5 week summer program called EcoLogik. EcoLogik is a unique fusion of nature and technology that seeks to connect underrepresented women (ages 9 – 15) to STEM opportunities. 30 young scientists will join us this summer as we learn to collect data, make biomodels, 3D print, computer program and much more. As a Mosaics intern for the National Park Service at Cabrillo National Monument, I will be the program manager of this project. I will handle the logistics, coordinate with partner groups and organize the curriculum. However, with my team and the Cabrillo Natural Resource Department, we will make this experience a profound connection with the community that will have an everlasting impact on these young scientists. Because teaching the next generation of environmental stewards is a challenge worth facing.
Always remember, teamwork makes the dream work.