Hi, everyone! I’m Kassidy, EFTA’s writing intern here in Boulder, Colorado. I have been doing some rounds of site visits for our blogs and recently visited Vishva, the Mosaics in Science communication intern at Rocky Mountain National Park. Continue reading to share my experience meeting Vishva and to follow up on the work she’s been doing with the Rocky Mountain glaciers!
In a little office amidst hiking trails and endless greenery, I find Vishva, the Mosaics in Science communication intern at Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). After a warm greeting, we sit down on a park bench underneath a tree to talk about her internship. As the science communications intern, Vishva is researching and developing communication tools for the public and specifically, visitors of RMNP. Her task this summer is to compile research on the Rocky Mountain glaciers and create a story map of the glaciers for visitors.
Most of Vishva’s work is done on her computer for research or graphic design using software such as Adobe Creative Cloud. But occasionally, she helps with citizen science, an activity where the National Park Service (NPS) involves the public in the scientific process, to monitor the phenology around a nearby lake. When I ask her what part of science communication she thinks is most beneficial in relaying information to the public, she says it’s activities like citizen science that include people in the research. “It is so important to give people a role in the narrative,” Vishva says.
Vishva’s story map on the glaciers of RMNP will include the public in the greater narrative as well; the story map allows people to learn more about climate change and their role in its mitigation. Vishva tells me that RMNP was founded because of its glaciers, yet they are receding more and more each year. “By researching the impact climate change will have on the Rockies, we can assume the impact it will have elsewhere as well as help in mitigating climate change. We can show people why it’s important to take action,” Vishva says.
Growing up in Maine, Vishva has had to adjust to life in RMNP with its high altitude, dry weather and lack of large bodies of water. Also having recently returned from studying abroad in Bhutan where she lived with a close group of peers, her little office in the woods has been a bit isolating. But over the few weeks she has been here, Vishva started hiking on her own and furthering her connection to nature. Walking along the open trails without distraction has complemented her online studies and allowed her to develop a holistic appreciation for her environment.
Now, Vishva says, she is getting to a very exciting point in her research where she is diving deeper into the story of the Rocky Mountain glaciers. She is amazed at the collaboration of people who have been researching the glaciers for centuries. “Seeing the way that it all weaves together from people building off of the previous work is really cool,” Vishva tells me.
When Vishva graduates next year with an Environmental Science degree, there are many different paths she could take. But she believes her internship will help her to determine a more specific interest – whether it be in writing, graphic design or working with the park service. I look around where Vishva and I are sitting, to all of the mountains and greenery, and can’t help but be inspired by her bravery and dedication to the environment – studying abroad in Bhutan last winter and then moving to the Rocky Mountains this summer. She radiates such an enthusiastic energy and her enthusiasm is obvious when she speaks of her work with the Rocky Mountain glaciers. After sitting down with Vishva, I can tell by the passion in her eyes there is something beautiful brewing for her future.