24 May A Revolution Begins: An Ecologist Meets a Historic Park
When I was eight years old I visited Minuteman National Historic Park in Concord Massachusetts. That very day just happened to National Ranger Day. I wondered why everyone was wearing these flat brimmed straw hats, but as they showed me around, I fell in love with the nature of park. The rangers taught me that their motto was “Explore, Learn, and Protect,” and even named me a Junior Ranger. Twelve years later I sit in the same park, this time not taking tours but exploring on my own as a Mosaics in Science Biodiversity Geographic Information Systems (GIS) assistant who’s job is to study the biodiversity of the park’s plants. In other words, I map out the nature that lives in the park. This involves taking soil samples, identifying many (our goal is 3,000) of the species and putting them all onto ArcGIS to make computer models.
One of the coolest things I get to do is help put together our first Walden Pond Bioblitz race. Members of the surrounding community will get to come and compete to see who can identify the most species in the park within two hours on the app iNaturalist. Our goal is to make our research more accessible to the community while also helping park scientists discover rare species in the park. I’ll then add all the data collected into ArcGIS and get a better understanding of the ecosystem at Minuteman.
Having finished my second year at Emory University, my classes have focused on organic chemistry and ecology. When I’m off work I enjoy building bikes and taking hikes, especially in the White Mountains in my home state New Hampshire.