The past couple of weeks have been full of excitement and I have already learned so much during my short time living here in Rawlins, WY. The amount of change after coming from the southeast has been immediate and overwhelming, but in such a positive way. I jumped right in my first week and started night shifts with my co-intern and mentor. Our goal was species monitoring. We surveyed along various two tracks that our mentor mapped out in order to listen for calls of the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad. Their natural history is somewhat unfamiliar but is thought to be closely related to the Plains Spadefoot Toad. Key characteristics of this species include elliptical pupils and a single tubercle found on each hind foot, which aids in burrowing during the colder months. Only after two days were we able to hear their calls as well as find their egg masses. This was the first time our mentor heard their calls in three years. This was such an exciting time for everyone, especially since this was my second day on the job! I then realized how incredibly lucky I was to experience this moment and to be here getting paid for what I was so passionate about.
During my second week I attended the Conservation Land Management Internship Conference at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. I was able to meet others with similar interests that were just as passionate about our environment and conservation as I was. Our week was full of classes and field work, as well as Seeds of Success training. Because of these classes I was able to gain so much knowledge and enhance my skills during my time here in Rawlins. Everyone I met was so generous, including our hosts. I had such a positive experience and it made me realize that whatever goals I have set for myself, I can fully reach them with the networking and skills that I will now have after this program. I appreciate every piece of advice and every person I met along the way. I will fully embrace this internship with an open heart and mind, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of this internship has in store for me.