2023 Highlights

Isabella Yallapragada 

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park


Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is located in Skagway, Alaska at the northern terminus of the Lynn
Canal. Established in 1976 to commemorate the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898-99, the park also contains an impressive diversity of flora and fauna because of its unique positioning in a transition zone between coastal temperate rainforest and interior boreal forest. Each spring, millions of migratory birds from the United States, Canada, and Central and South America make southeast Alaska a stopover site before completing their perilous, long-distance journeys to summer breeding and rearing locations. Klondike’s Coastal Waterbird Survey (CWS) was designed to comprehensively monitor the occurrence, distribution, abundance, and habitat associations of bird communities, with particular attention paid to such migratory birds in the Taiya Inlet. As ornithologists across the world have noted, however, migratory birds have generally advanced their spring migrations in recent decades in response to climate change. Isabella led a team of volunteer birders in analyzing data collected according to CWS protocols to determine if spring migration has changed over time. Results from the analysis will be used to inform future CWS procedure and the park’s avifauna management and monitoring plans.                                                                


Elsy Martinez

Oregon Caves National Monument


Nestled in the Siskiyou Mountains in Southeast Oregon, Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is
best known for its natural beauty in the expansive granite caves throughout the park. It is also home to a diverse set of plant and animal species, which brought Elsy Martinez to the park for her Mosaics in Science internship. As an intern in the Resource Management Division, Elsy learned to implement natural resource monitoring systems, specifically bat acoustic identification. Once recorded, she analyzed the bat calls using the SonoBat software and uploaded them

to NaBat, the national bat database. She also worked closely with GIS and GPS inventory and mapping and other resource monitoring involving hydrology, invasive weeds, climate change, caves, trail and equipment maintenance, and historic preservation of the park. Through honing her monitoring tactics and recording these creatures, ten species of bats were found and documented near the entrances of caves at the monument.

James Nagaoka

Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park


Established in 2014, Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park was created to preserve the local history in the area, mainly the first successful textile mills in the United States. Located between Rhode Island and Massachusetts, this park is best known for its rich, post- colonial history. Dating back to the late 18th century, this area was the heart of the first industrial revolution in the States. What often goes forgotten about BLRV is its immense natural history and beauty. Blackstone has much to offer with abundant fish, wildlife, and diverse species- but no science-based education existed in the park. This need is where James Nagoka contributed to the upstart of a K-12 science-based curriculum for the park as an Education Assistant. Working closely with the Interpretive Park Rangers there, James helped develop a diverse set of educational talks and awareness presentations regarding the health of the Blackstone River and its tributaries. He sought to inform the public of the detriments to the river, including water pollution. He also ran pop-up activities for visitors, educating them on the historic mills’ effects on the river and the problems they still cause today.

Saani Borge

San Juan Island National Historical Park


San Juan Island National Historical Park is a place rich in history and home to extraordinary wildlife. The park is home to the fascinating story of the Pig War, a little- known battle between Washington State and British forces over the island’s ownership. But the park offers more than just history – it’s also a sanctuary for rare species. One such species is the Island Marble Butterfly (IMB), thought to be extinct until its rediscovery in 1998. These beautiful butterflies are now endangered, with their last remaining habitat being the American Camp Unit within the park. However, the park faces another threat – the invasive Canadian Thistle,

which is disrupting the natural dune movement and putting the Sand Verbena Moth (SVM) at risk. Enter Saani Borge, a Biology Assistant working at the park through the Mosaics in Science Internship Program. Saani’s important role involved trapping, identifying, and surveying insects, with a focus on the SVM. Their research revealed a decline in moth populations as the invasive species encroached on their natural habitat. They skillfully collected and analyzed data, acquiring valuable knowledge and skills along the way.