27 Jul Some takeaways from the MISS
Its so wild how fast the last few months have flown by. I’ve been really busy! Aside from being busy with this internship I also took some summer credits and fulfilled my math requirements for the University of Minnesota. Taking calculus at the same time was not the smartest decision, but I was able to get it finished before we leave for D.C which is nice. Although there are a couple more things I have to get done before I fly out, I’m so excited to spend a week with my peers and learn about what everyone was busy with over the summer. Things are really starting to wrap up, and it’s gonna be weird to not be so busy in August.
I’ve learned so much since I started with the park service. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a steep learning curve but I really fell into the groove after the first few weeks. It felt like this whole experience was me learning about many different aspects of Minnesota.
While I was being trained with the rangers, we spent a lot of time going to different places and listening to passionate people. Whether that be hearing an avid birdwatcher explain how they differentiate bird calls, a paleontologist detail the geologic history of the area, or a historian recount the construction of the Saint Anthony falls lock and dam, hearing all of these experts speak on their life’s work was inspiring to say the least. You can always tell when someone is genuinely interested and attached to what they do and all of the people we heard epitomized that feeling.
After my time with the rangers had concluded, I moved onto spending my time with the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change researchers. This was the first time I had been out in the field and I really enjoyed learning about the methods used to conduct this research. Aside from understanding quadrat sampling, I got a really solid understanding of plant ID. We saw all types of stuff out there and it was fun to realize that I was getting a hang of knowing what something was just by looking at it. Although I’ll forever have trouble deciding if a vine looks more like wild cucumber or moonseed, I am very grateful to have learned so much in such a short time.
My time working with the Beaver project yielded similar results. I learned about different field techniques like variable radius plots, and how to use DBH tape and prisms to determine if trees are “in” or “out” of the sample. I was also able to get a stronger idea of tree identification as well. There were 6 or 7 tree species that we saw a lot in the floodplain forests and at this point they are all cemented into my mind!
Overall, my time at the park was so valuable for preparing me for more professional situations. I can’t wait to present my experience in DC!