Packing up my life in Minnesota into my car, a week and a half post-college graduation, and moving to Fort Collins, Colorado to intern with the National Park Service has been quite the whirlwind experience to say the least. I am beginning my second week at my internship, and it would be all too typical to report the old “I love it so far!” line, so I will refrain from using that particular phrase. I am stationed here, between the Biological Resource Management Division and Water Resources, with another intern, Brittany, with whom I share many commonalities and have made a special bond (Avatar anyone?). Not only are the people here in the office extraordinarily bright, kind, passionate, and humorous, but the city is beautiful and welcoming. Brittany and I have been charged with numerous and exciting responsibilities. My time so far has been spent managing and editing an extensive excel file of invasive animals in the national parks across the country, which will conclude as a national report to Congress. Talk about instant gratification; who knew the hours upon hours of collegiate excel work would be put to such immediate use! Having collaborated on an aquatic invasive species research project with my advisor at Hamline (http://eco.confex.com/eco/2010/techprogram/P23479.HTM), getting to continue my education and expand my knowledge on invasives has been a real treat for me as well.
Up next for us is a weekend camping and exploring in Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado, with our eyes peeled for any invasives of course! (Particularly rock snot , which Brittany is now an expert in!)
Then, at the end of the month, we head southwest for the weeklong CLM training workshop in the Grand Canyon. Neither of us have ever been, so the experience is going to be that much more amazing. We are planning a mini-road trip, with a night camping in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, as well as a short stop at the famed “Four Corners”.
Upon our return from the Grand Canyon, we get to spend a week in July doing field work in Rocky Mountain National Park. One of us will be collecting alpine vegetation and soil data, and the other will focus on stream and wetland ecological integrity (http://science.nature.nps.gov/im/units/romn/). Although we truly do love the work we are doing in the office, I will speak for myself and say how absolutely ecstatic I am about getting out in the field and collecting raw data. For me, there is nothing better!
Until next time!Chenie Prudhomme Fort Collins, CO National Park Service