As previously mentioned, the Southeast Arizona Group (SEAZ) is composed of three parks: Coronado National Memorial (CORO), Chiricahua National Monument (CHIR), and Fort Bowie National Historic Site (FOBO). My favorite aspect of this internship is that rather than being limited to working within one park, I get the opportunity to visit three different parks and perform a variety of tasks outside of my designated project with the Unstable Slope Management Program (USMP). Not only does this build my skill set, but it also allows me to actively partake in the various projects and objectives of the individual parks.
Currently, I spend about half of the week working in CHIR and the other half at CORO. CORO, situated right along the U.S.-Mexico border, serves as my home base and this where I spend most of my non-work time. My duties there involve the set-up of the Barking Frog acoustic monitoring system, monitoring of bat-tracking equipment in old mine caves, and repeated photo-surveying of erosional hot spots. A couple things worth highlighting about CORO are the mountain and desert views right outside my home, the variable geologic architecture, and the sweet smell in the air after a monsoon rain. The post-rain smell here is unlike anything I have experienced before, and my understanding is that it occurs when oil secretions from creosote bushes are wafted into the air by rain.
CHIR is the location of my main project, USMP, and as I’ve previously noted is known for its famous rhyolite hoodoos. When I’m not out on Bonita Canyon Road surveying potential geohazards, I get the opportunity to perform water-well-monitoring and air quality assessments. Despite not having a chance to visit Fort Bowie yet, my understanding is that my main duties there will revolve around spring monitoring.
Getting the chance to be part of a variety of projects not only makes every day a learning experience, but it also allows me to work with various park staff and employees that I perhaps otherwise would have never met. It is hard to believe that this is already my 4th week here and that soon I will be closer to the end of my internship than the beginning. Until then though, I look forward to completing my main project with the USMP and dipping my hand into the various opportunities that SEAZ has to offer.