04 Aug Every Day a Little More like a Biologist in Yosemite
A single blog cannot begin to describe what an unforgettable experience has the Mosaics in Science Internship provided me during the summer of 2023 in Yosemite National Park. I never expected this summer to progress as it did. I’ve always anhelado** working with birds in national parks. And this summer, completing research with great gray owls (Strix nebulosa yosemitensis) in Yosemite National Park has been my dream job come true. Not only working in Yosemite, but to also explore such an incredible park is a blessing. In this blog I wish to record my highlights and takeaways from the summer.
Working as a Biology Assistant and Owl Helper
As I arrived on May 18th, I had the least knowledge of radio telemetry setup or vegetation protocols. Two months later and I am now leaving my internship with the skills necessary to complete VHF tracking and habitat assessments through vegetation data.
Since my first workday (May 22) to my last workday (July 27), I have completed 202 vegetation plots and 101 observation/perch sites recorded from our 4 tagged great gray owls. I learned how to perform radio telemetry setup and observe animals practicing the least invasive method possible. I learned how to complete vegetation protocols for habitat assessment. Through my volunteering in other projects, I was able to learn how to complete owl broadcasting, spotted owl surveys, bird banding, bat netting, and bear roving. Thanks to the data I collected, we can now do fine-scale habitat preference and improve our conservation efforts on great gray owls.
Lending a Hand in other Projects
I assisted in other projects such as bird banding, bat netting, prescribed fires, spotted owl surveys, and great gray owl broadcasting. Helping in a variety of wildlife projects is helping me to think outside the box and not limiting myself to one wildlife perspective.
Hiking the Yosemite Wilderness
Hiking all of Yosemite would take me more than a single summer. But for just being here two months and 20 days, I am impressed with the dedication to push my limits and explore even when I’m most tired. From Hetch Hetchy reservoir, to Wawona, from the Valley floor to the High Sierra, my estimated mileage is 120 miles of hiking in Yosemite National Park. It is quite difficult to choose a single hike, but I will select my top 3 favorite hikes in Yosemite National Park.
- North Dome
- Mt. Hoffman
- Mist Trail
I left Yosemite one step closer to being a National Park Service Biologist
The goal of the Mosaics in Science Diversity Internship is to provide youth that are under-represented in natural resource science career fields with on-the-ground, science-based, work experience with the National Park Service. I thank Environment for the Americas and Mosaics in Science for providing an opportunity for underrepresented minorities such as myself who wish to make a difference in the fields of STEM and conservation. Internships like these demonstrate the importance of diversity not only in wildlife but in our teams and organizations. I hope my passion and dedication serves in two ways: 1. to provide a good example and facilitate the employment of future stem minorities and 2. To be an honorary example to all minorities who wish to protect our wildlife and wild places. As I look back into this summer, I have worked and lived a unique experience by working side-by-side with scientists, researchers, and educators. I assisted in other projects such as bird banding, bat netting, prescribed fires, spotted owl surveys, and great gray owl broadcasting.It is extremely difficult to express what I have lived in Yosemite National Park. I have created a chest full of memories from great gray owls, meadows, mountains, waterfalls, and all the wildlife admired. As I arrived at Yosemite National Park, I felt like I was a newborn great gray owI. Now, as I leave, I am a fledgling learning to fly into the wilderness.
“Yosemite is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” ― John Muir