Living in Canada and studying Natural Resource Conservation at the University of British Columbia, I am not very familiar with the common plants of the Eastern forests. I am currently learning to identify the common plants found within Shenandoah National Park, along the Blue Ridge Mountains. This includes the common natives and non-native plants. When filling out the data sheets for the rare plant monitoring it is necessary to take note of nearby invasive species as well and the top three most common canopy species, sub-canopy species, shrub layer species and herb layer species. In order to learn the common plants within the 12 weeks of my internship, it is necessary to collect specimens in the field to key out in the office, collect specimens to preserve in the herbarium, study herbarium species, and species lists.
In addition to increasing my botanical knowledge I am completing cross-training in a number of other aspects of the National Parks system. This includes training in education programs, Peregrine Falcon restoration, air and water quality monitoring, and the stream ecology programs. So far, I have completed the cross training in education and Peregrine Falcon restoration. Working with these crews I have learned the basics of interpretation, education, hacking falcons and wildlife monitoring.