Luxurious green mountains encapsuled in a white fog. The air is crisp and cool, heavy with humidity along rivers and creeks. The sun rays escape through the spaces between the leaves of the canopy. Everywhere hiked, there is visible variability in flora communities once emerging a different elevation. Hiking upon the Appalachian Trail means that the state border is under ones feet. To the West of me I see the atmosphere and culture between the mountains of Tennessee, and to the East, North Carolina reigns with its blue ridged mountains and tranquility.

On the Appalachian Trail overlooking North Carolina.

Black bears roam the forest floor, searching and sniffing out for some sustenance, at times when spotted off the road, they become celebrities as they are the poster child of my site. Elk and turkeys think that roads are a good place to stand in, causing for drivers to brake at their presence as they hurriedly pace out of the way. In Gatlinburg, people from all around come to rejoice in herds among the tourist attractions, foods, mini golf, and shops, as a gondola lift allows for those who pay to have a scenic aerial view of the valley. My site is the Great Smoky Mountains, within it it encases the beauty of mature Earth that nature loving old souls roam upon, and the materialistic anthropogenic scene.

A visit to Laurel Falls featuring the backside of another intern.


-Kat Castrillon

Katherine Castrillon

Katherine Castrillon graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies, minor in Biology, certificate in Agroecology, and certificate in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management. This summer she is working with the National Park Service stationed in the Great Smoky Mountains under Vegetation Monitoring contributing to projects such as Long-Term Vegetation Plots, Accuracy Assessment, Wetland Mapping and Monitoring, and Rare Species. After the internship, she plans on preparing towards graduate school while simultaneously working for an ecology research lab focused on vegetation communities and wetlands.

1 Comment

Fabiane · June 20, 2018 at 8:29 pm

What a blessed experience to be able those beautiful views, get work experience, and get paid. I never been to the Appalachian Trail, but it is on my bucked list.
Have a great intership

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