Reflecting back on my past 10 weeks, I’m asking myself, “what haven’t I done?”
One of the first things I did when I got to Lava Beds was to analyze the last two years of data from our NA Bat (North American Bat Monitoring Program) sites. I inputted all of it into ArcGIS manually and started to create maps out of it. My supervisor and I haven’t gotten to compile and analyze this year’s data just yet, but I completed the maps from 2016 and 2017 and was able to track the change in presence absence of certain species of bats over those two years. NA Bat requires two years of baseline data in order to draw conclusions from it as a park, so we at Lava Beds are ecstatic for the years to come to be able to understand variability with our bat population in the area.
Every Friday at 10am I have my porch talks about bats! It is always the highlight of the week. I love being able to interact with kids, hear from visitors about their own experiences, and just wow them with how amazing bats area. One of the most interesting aspects of figuring out how to connect bats to everyone! I try to have props like bat plushes, SonoBat data, and specimens that appeal to everyone, and with my 10 ft pole for monitoring I get a lot of people’s attention. It has been great trying to figure out where the needs of the community are and how our resource management division can communicate the importance of living systems to visitors.
Overall, learning to both do bat science and communication at the same time was challenging, but I feel well prepared now as I am getting close to finishing this internship. Now onto my last two week filled with data work, poster prep, bat class mist netting and lectures!