With Alaska being a 67 hour drive from South West Michigan and only 4 days available after I graduated, I opted to fly into Anchorage. Upon arrival on that Friday I bought a car and got everything sorted to arrive all spic and span for training at 8am on Monday. My first week was dedicated to the various training sessions that are required for NPS staff, things like information sessions about the park, how to talk to guests, and defensive driving. (My favorite line in the online driving course was…”Physics does not know who you and your family are so wear a seat-belt.” Thank you driving course, it is true physics does not know who you are because it is not a living thing. But seriously guys wear your seat-belt, you don’t need a bad line to know that).
My second week was dedicated to training for the Alaska Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) that I will be a part of. Alaska is a unique state for so many reasons, including the scale of invasive weeds. For one, the amount and variety are relatively low compared to the lower 48. This allows for the National Parks in the state to keep, document, monitor, and control infestations. This past week I journeyed to Anchorage for training on the GPS devices we will be using and the proper protocols for the project. I am pretty excited to get to work monitoring and killing some weeds.