It was been a full three weeks since my arrival in Southeast Arizona. Given the pandemic, my arrival from Texas was kicked off with a two-week quarantine. Luckily, Coronado National Memorial (CORO) has two employee homes, Q1 & Q2, allowing me and the other incoming Geoscientist in the Parks intern to self-isolate separately. Those first two weeks were filled with teleworking during the day and walks through the park at night to help keep my sanity. Surprisingly, the two weeks of self-isolation flew by faster than expected and before I knew it me and the other intern, Estefania, were moving into Q1. As previously mentioned, Estefania is currently a GIP, but she held my current position last year, thus she’s been a great source of information on both the Southeast Arizona Group parks and on the project I will lead.
My first week of “real” work started with a drive out to Chiricahua National Monument (CHIR) with my supervisor Jessica and Estefania. At CHIR, I had the pleasure of having a virtual meeting with Eric Bilderback, a geomorphologist within the NPS’s Geologic Resources Division, and perform basic training for the Unstable Slope Management Program (USMP).
Following the meeting, our three-person team performed well-monitoring and air-quality assessment checks. The well-monitoring involved visiting some of CHIR’s water wells and lowering a water-sensor into the wells and registering their depth. The air-quality assessment check mostly involved me observing and learning as Jessica and Estefania monitored sensors and collected data from the air-quality station. The station consists of three different air quality sensors, each of which utilizes unique methods to monitor air quality. Once I familiarize myself with the processes more, Estefania and I will be the main ones performing both the well monitoring and the air-quality station assessments. The rest of the week was filled with in-field USMP trainings, which consisted of driving out to various outcrops and slopes at CHIR and performing slope analyses.
With the most of my training completed, starting week 4 Estefania and I will spend the majority of our time at CHIR completing the implementation of USMP on slopes along Bonita Canyon road. When not working on USMP, we will be installing acoustic sensors to monitor the presence or absence of Barking Frogs, as well as monitoring the status of bat-tracking equipment in one of CORO’s old mining caves.
Thus far, my time in Arizona has been filled with learning and growing. Furthermore, each and every one of the staff members that I have met at CORO and CHIR have been kind and welcoming and I cannot wait to continue working alongside them this summer.