26 Jun A Good Spot – Welcome to Mt. Rainier
A little about me:
Greetings and welcome to my MIS internship blog! My name is Ameen Asbahi, this summer I am working as a vegetation biology assistant at Mount Rainier National Park. My position is mainly focused on science communication, creating stories from the data my team is collecting this summer. However, my work also involves subalpine vegetation monitoring, tree hazard assessments, data synthesis in R software, and other forms of technical data collection. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and am pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I work in conservation simply because I love wildlife, and my academic major specialization is in conservation biology. In my own time, I have a lot of varied interests but especially love music. Professionally, I hope to pursue a career in large-scale habitat restoration and create nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.
My pupils are on skates. My head strained over the steering wheel, a tight grip, my back hunched. Driving into the national park is a quasi-hazardous operation for any nature-lover, especially those unfamiliar with its beauty. The winding and aptly named “Paradise Valley Road” is polished by the rain, bordered by giant Douglas fir, Western hemlock, and Western red cedar stretching towards the atmosphere. The air is sharp and sappy, a sweet welcome. After ascending seven miles from the park entrance to my housing in Longmire, the surrounding ecosystem becomes more extreme, and I begin to feel the gravity of the mountain.
Towering and sublime, Mount Rainier is an active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the lower 48. Like a stern mother, the mountain has forged a harsh alpine ecosystem through glacial activity, rockslides, and heavy snow. The rugged and hardcore nature of the mountain seems to have rubbed off on the locals too. Walking into Longmire, the housing community I will be living in, it seemed as though every staff member is an athlete. The housing staff member who helped me move in is no exception, although his kind aura alleviates the intimidation I feel. After some practical advice about the resident mice and a firm handshake, he departed with a few words, “You’ll love it here, Mount Rainier is a good spot.”