Halfway There: Wrapping up Week 6 at Point Reyes National Seashore

I just wrapped up week 6 of 12 of my internship, officially putting me at the “halfway mark” of my summer with the Mosaics in Science Diversity program. I can hardly believe that it’s been six weeks since I moved south to California and started my internship here at Point Reyes National Seashore! I guess the old adage “time flies when you’re having fun” certainly rings true in my case.

These past weeks – though certainly an exciting adventure in their own right – have tested me both mentally and physically in ways that I had never anticipated previous to starting this internship. I guess spending all day every day (or, at least, 5 days a week) out in the field hiking while carrying heavy gear to-and-from survey sites will do that to a person, though. On the plus side, being surrounded by gorgeous natural environments with other enthusiastic scientists has been absolutely invaluable in teaching me things that I might not have known had I not seized this one-in-a-lifetime internship opportunity. And not just information pertaining to fishes or other aquatic creatures – by speaking to other park employees and volunteers I’ve learned so much about other fields like botany (plants), ornithology (birds), and geology (rocks)!

FUN FACT: The San Andreas fault (the area between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates) runs right through Point Reyes National Seashore! This fault line is approximately 28 million years old and extends nearly 800 miles in length! Though it might not seem like it, these two plates are continuously moving and when a region of the two plates collide it causes an earthquake. It’s been estimated that Southern California experiences about 10,000 earthquakes a year – and most are so small you aren’t even aware it’s happening! The fault moves an average of 3.5-5 cm (1.4-2 in) per year, but during the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the greatest displacement along the San Andreas fault was recorded as 7.5 meters (24.5 feet)!

In approximately two weeks’ time, the other Mosaics interns and I will be travelling to Colorado for an end-of-term conference where we’ll be presenting our research projects and learning more about possible future career opportunities within the National Park Service and beyond. Not only am I excited to finally meet everyone, but I’ve also never been to Colorado before, so I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to explore the state and Rocky Mountain National Park! When I get back, I’ll make sure to update you on the results of my project and what happened at the conference!

For those of you interested in what it means to be a field technician, I’ll be devoting a blog in the near future giving you all a nitty-gritty inside-look at a day in the life of a scientist here at the park. Being a field technician is without-a-doubt an incredibly challenging and rewarding job, so it’s definitely not a career for everyone. But perhaps I can enlighten those of you interested in this field of choice, and perhaps sway you over to the environmental science/conservation side of life. To make sure I cover all bases, though, if any of you have any questions pertaining to fieldwork or careers in the national park service, send me a message in the next few weeks and I’ll make sure to answer it to the best of my ability in one of my blogs later on!

Until next time,

-Katlyn

For more information on the San Andreas fault, check out:

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Written by Katlyn Fuentes
Katlyn is an Aquatic and Fishery Sciences major and Anthropology minor at the University of Washington in Seattle. This summer she will be working as a Mosaics in Science intern with the National Park Service at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, assisting with the ongoing San Francisco Area Network Coho and Steelhead Monitoring Program. After completing this internship and graduating with her B.S., she plans on pursuing a career in conservation and management of natural resources.