Getting Klammy in Klamath Falls

I am so late on my blog post because I have been busy, busy, busy!!

The last month and a half since my last blog post has been full of crazy awesome happenings! We have had projects galore here at the Klamath Falls Field Office and I just got back from an incredible American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on the Big Island of Hawaii!

The AAAS Conference was everything I’d hoped it to be. The conference was located at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy which included several lecture halls, a dining facility, outdoors facility and dorm rooms. Because everyone was able to stay right there on campus, it created a very tight-knit environment. I got to meet all of the speakers, admins, AAAS employees and organizers, and so many more! I feel as though this allowed me to network a lot better. I made some wonderful friends and connections while I was there that I’m hoping will allow me some opportunities in future endeavors!

What I really loved the most about this conference is that it hosted a wide range of the latest research in science topics from Environmental Science to Anthropology and from Psychology to Conservation Biology! I sat through some incredibly interesting presentations about hammerhead shark conservation, algorithms for conservation biology, and the death of the Hawaiian Ohi’a tree. Seeing everyone’s passion for their research has me really motivated about specializing and pursuing a Master’s degree (and maybe one day doing a presentation of my own at this conference!). Doing research or working in conservation in Hawaii is one of my ultimate goals! The islands are so secluded and their wildlife populations so specific to the island that conservation is of huge concern there. It would be so rewarding to be able to make a difference for such a unique and beautiful place! I want to thank Chicago Botanic Garden and my mentor for allowing me the opportunity to do my alternative training at this educational and unforgettable conference. It has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life!

A really beautiful hike that I got to do around the conference in Waimea, Hawaii!

On top of the excitement of the conference I attended, we have worked on several projects here at the field office! One such project led Jeff and I into the Fremont-Winema National Forest to check for evidence of cattle grazing in the riparian areas of the North Fork Sprague and Sycan Rivers. Lo and behold, we found evidence of those darned cows, trampling around where they weren’t supposed to be! Photos and GPS points documenting where everything was should hopefully lead to future projects and initiatives to keep those cows out!

Fremont-Winema National Forest is rull pretty! Working here wasn’t so bad!

A second project that we were very fortunate to help out on with was with Canada Goose banding! Early in the morning we had about eight kayaks and two air boats go out on the water while everyone else stood along the shore lines to deter the birds from fleeing onto the road or into vegetation. Using the air boats and kayaks, we corralled the birds into one large sitting group in the center of the lake. After that, the air boats and kayaks “pushed” the geese into a large net at the other end of the lake. This mostly amounted to us slowly paddling behind them while they nonchalantly swim into our trap 🙂 After the birds are all rounded up, we take each bird and sex it and band it! It was such an experience unlike any other! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be able to work on such a fun project!

Banding a Canadian Goose!

How hilarious is this photo? Me driving an air boat for my first time. Yes, I am yelling.

Aside from these fun little side projects, Jeff and I have been working on a couple of bigger projects that should keep us busy for the entirety of the summer. One of them involves taking endangered larval sucker fish and testing them in different scenarios (having or not having vegetation, etc.) at our ponds to test for rates of survival. A second project involves using a computer program to trace around the heads and mouths of sucker fish to create an analysis for future identification. Both should involve some scientific writing and statistics so that is exciting (I need a refresher)!

So far this internship is exceeding my expectations! I’ve been able to add a plethora of experience to my resume. I’ve started applying for several jobs and I should be taking the GRE within the next couple of months so that I can apply for some graduate programs. The future is unknown, but I am hopeful and excited!

Marissa – Klamath Falls Field Office – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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