23 Jun So much to learn, so little time!
As a vegetation intern, I’ve spent most of my time learning about a few of the over 1,700 known plant species found at the Grand Canyon. With an elevation gain of almost 6,000ft from the river to the North Rim, the canyon is able to host a variety of different plant species. Even with so much to learn just in the vegetation world, I have been fortunate enough to cross train with different departments in the park.
I spent a day with the Education team and learned about distance learning during the pandemic, and how these rangers were/are still able to provide numerous programs to schools all over the country. I’ve been able to work with another intern at NAU to talk about her project with milkweed, got a tour of the university’s greenhouse facility, and took a trip to Sedona to learn about their pollinator garden efforts. I also visited the Grand Canyon’s Museum Collections facility and helped organize the herbarium, and was able to see some fascinating fossils and artifacts (in case you’re wondering, they have preserved giant sloth poop!). One of the most memorable moments for me so far was the morning I went out to the rim with a wildlife intern. She taught me how to use condor telemetry to locate these massive birds in the park. California condors, while doing considerably better now (only 22 remaining in the wild in 1982, compared to almost 500 now), are still an endangered species, and being able to see them in person, in the wild, and pick up their signal, was absolutely thrilling.
There is so much going on in the park, and it is really incredible to be given the opportunity to explore these different fields of study and learn more about what people are up to.