I began this internship with little knowledge of desert ecology as well as the plants that live within that ecosystem. As the internship progressed I became more aware of the multiple organisms found within the desert. I learned about the diverse dynamics and the severe negative affects of fire on an ecosystem that is not adapt to such a disturbance.
I have learned so much from this internship. I began my internship with a quick introduction to the annual plants found in the desert. As the months progressed I learned how to set up transects and assess 100% perennial plant cover, which of course came with a quick introduction into perennial plant identification. My favorite field site was Nevershine. It was the field site we began our field work on and it contains a beautiful calm; or maybe it was just the nostalgia of sleeping out under the stars the first week of work.
Once annual and perennial plants had been documented and assessed we got to dive into individual projects. I had the pleasure of learning how to collect seeds for various plant species, herbarium data entry, R- program for statistical analysis, in-depth scientific research for project proposal writing, as well as methods for bromas seed collection, and much more. Instead of going to the training in Chicago, since I had already completed field work at that time, I chose to attend a different training course, Wilderness First Responder. Which I found to be a valid choice since I had been bitten by a creature and evacuated from the field. I though it would be good to know how to help others if anything were to happen to them. I learned how to examine a patient, wound assessment and care, CPR, moving a spinal injury patient, splinting, re-setting dislocations, patient care/ treatment and knowledge to make evacuation decisions. I am now a WFR.
I think the best part of my internship was the seed collecting trip that took me on an adventure to the Grand Canyon, Escalante area, around Lake Powell and through Zion National Park. I felt like a little kid on a specially guided nerdy geeky tour. I learned so much from the two scientists that I got to hang out with. My knowledge has increased significantly during the entire internship. The connections I made and everything I learned made my internship a valuable part of my life. Not to mention my fellow inters/friends/roommates made my experience even better. They are all wonderful people. I am glad I had the opportunity to work with, learn with and from. I look forward to seeing were their lives take them.