03 Jun Rad Road Trip: Boulder, CO to Mammoth Cave, KY + the first week at Mammoth Cave
Hi! My name is Anjali Velamala (un-juh-lee vel-uh-ma-luh) and I am a cave and karst assistant at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky. I am a rising junior double majoring in environmental engineering and applied math with a minor in art practices at the University of Colorado Boulder. I am so excited to be a Mosaics in Science intern this summer and can’t wait to share my experience with y’all!
Fun facts about Anjali: I have 24 junior ranger pins and patches from road trips around the U.S. I eat most savory food with Cholula hot sauce. Back at home I have 23 plants in my room.
I drove to Mammoth Cave in three days. Here are some important statistics:
Vehicle: Black 2014 VW cc
Average mpg: 27.9
Cows seen: around 2,653 (estimated)
Best podcast(s): Work, Play, Rest by TED Radio Hour
Theme song: “Sweet November” by SZA
Biggest change: The grass is green and they don’t use sprinklers—very different from dry Colorado.
I arrived at my new home at Mammoth Cave on Monday, May 9th around 5. My apartment was quite dusty as no one had lived in it for a few months, but after a few hours of cleaning and unpacking, it felt like home!
I went to work at the Science and Resource Management Office the next morning. I did training for bat counts. To do a proper bat count we use one person with night vision goggles and a clicker, one night vision video camera with infrared lights, and one thermal infrared video camera. The videos from the special cameras are looked at later to count two more times to ensure the most accurate count of the bats. Tuesday evening we went in the field and did a practice count; we went to a smaller cave and saw about 50 bats.
On Wednesday I toured Mammoth Cave National Park with my supervisor. I also did a fire extinguisher training that we helped set up. Thursday we went out in the field to get data from a water quality instrument. On Friday I went with a group to look at the graffiti in the caves, we focused on the Native American work and any signatures from 1812-1941.
I will be working on a variety of projects this summer including some I lead myself. I am so excited for all the things I will learn at this internship! Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for my next post!