Moving on…

Hi Everyone!
I am finishing up my internship, so this is my final blog post. I have had a blast working for the Park Service; I have learned a ton, worked on so many different projects and met some really cool people. Overall, I would say this summer was a success and my experiences here greatly exceeded my expectations. From cutting cattails in Cumberland, searching for the federally listed Harperella, to exploring the Smithsonian behind the scenes, I have some great experiences that have helped me move into the next steps of my career.

I would say the most exciting project I worked on was doing surveys for a reintroduction of the federally listed plant Harperella nodosum. This involved several days of driving along the C&O Canal and getting to wade out into flooded sections searching for this plant. Harperella flower in the summer, so it is best to search for them then as they are easier to spot. Searching at this time has the added advantage of viewing all the other summer plants in bloom, brightening the canal with splashes of color. Working on projects such as this, it is hard to imagine this as “work”. It reminds me why I do what I do and why I love my job.

Sadly, I am leaving my position early, as I have accepted a job with another agency in Florida. I will miss working with the folks at C&O Canal and Catoctin Park. My time here was well spent, both at work outside as well as playing along the rivers and streams after work. I will miss my new friends and will always cherish the memories I have made.
Thanks to NPS and CBG for this amazing experience!

Working at both C&O Canal NHP and Catoctin Mountain NP in Maryland so far has been challenging, insightful and exciting. Since I only recently started, I am still going through lots of training and taking field trips to see various sites within the parks. But so far I have loved every minute of it and can’t wait to see what is in store for me this summer and fall.

My interests are in plant ecology and I will be focusing on rare, threatened and endangered plant species while here at the park. I will also be doing vegetation surveys with deer exclosures to determine the impact of white tailed deer on native vegetation. Deer populations in Maryland have skyrocketed and they have only recently started deer management plans to thin the herds. These plots should reflect smaller deer densities through increasing species richness and abundance, but only time will tell!

I will also be working on vulnerability assessments for climate change for both parks. This includes using climate change forecast models and applying them to habitats to predict how plants and animals will react to a changing world. I have read a lot about them and I am excited to attempt my first one. These results could be really useful in implementing long term management plans for parks and possibly save them money, resources, and time.

I have a few pictures that I will post later in the week. But so far I am loving my time here in Maryland, gaining some great experience, and meeting some amazing people!