Follow Me: SCA member blogs from the field

Follow Me is the place to read field dispatches from SCA members serving the planet all over the USA.

(Photo above) Crew lunch on a Redwood log!

Time after time I am set loose into the wild with a group of high school students, confident in my ability to face the onslaught of weird possibilities and unending opportunities for catastrophe, ready to lead each crew to triumph and trail mastery. But as they say, the best intentions are fraught with disaster. Or do they say that?

(Photo above) This is us working on the mural, getting our groove. You can see me back a ways lining up my stencil!

After our awesome hike on Thursday, we had been tasked with painting a mural at a pier that looks like this:

As you can see, the barriers are not the most beautiful things to look at.

Sometimes its a little too easy to get caught up in what you don’t have. For me currently, the big ones are internet, cell service, and the ability to make it to the coffee pot before my twelve other bunkmates do.

(Photo above) Eastern box turtle: by Hudson River Park Wild! Tour guide, Keith Michael

Hello Everyone! The Summer SCA staff and I went on a day hike in the Staten Island Mt. Loretto State Forest and Mt. Loretto Unique Area last week, and I was inspired to write a little bit about the importance of urban green space.

(Photo above) With fellow SCA/CDIP interns Emily Zhang and Rani Jacobson. Photo credit: Emily

What does it mean when you’ve been pooped on repeatedly? By birds, of course.

The birds in question would be common terns with their largest nesting population located on 17-acre Great Gull Island, one of Long Island Sound’s barrier islands.

Great Dismal! Prime Hook! And now Back Bay- where will this girl go next?

I’ll tell you where- straight to bed.

I am exhausted.

But I had a wonderful time at Back Bay - Sunday afternoon I loaded up the truck and cruised over to Virginia Beach.

Last week I spent a bunch of time working on some elevation spreadsheets from before the 2008 Lateral West Fire. So the first part of the week basically involved collecting more data on those plots. Before the fire, a few water monitoring wells were installed and surveyed for elevations.

(Above) Sylvie appreciates a belly rub from a visitor. NPS photo.

As the first bus arrives, it starts quietly enough. A single employee from Alaska Geographic, a non-profit organization that sells Alaska-related materials, walks down our driveway to set up shop in the dog yard.

I woke up this morning to discover that my roommate and fellow SCA intern had somehow broken her toe – unfortunately she was in charge of picking up some important visitors to the park, so my crew and I had to step in and leave behind our normal daily duties of implementing vegetation plots to drive down about 20 miles on the beach to the Fire Island lighthouse to pick up the guests.

(Above) This is an example poster I designed when proposing the TerraCycle project to my supervisors.

Outside of working hours, I’ve been keeping busy to take advantage of all that Florida has to offer. I have already enjoyed several theme parks and aquariums, the beach (have to remind myself it’s saltwater and not freshwater like the Great Lakes!), and exploring downtown Tampa and St.

(Photo above) Conservation intern Maria Gross, re-stringing a fishing pole

My last blog post I gave you a little introduction to the park I work in and my SCA placement. I also (hopefully) gave you some insight into me as a person and conservationist. I hold a firm belief that in order to achieve environmental greatness, one must begin at the source.

(Photo above) The crew on top of Mt. Adams (Mt. Washington in the background)

I’ve been very excited to head into the backcountry of New Hampshire during conservation season. It was a big part of my decision to apply for this program and there are numerous ways in which I hope to apply what I’m learning here.

Blood poured down my nose onto my shirt and to the soil below. I thought for a second that maybe the nutrients in the redness that I saw would be appreciated by the life around. Maybe even the plant that I was putting into the ground could swallow it up with its roots once I covered them with soil and patted it down.

One thing that Jonah Keane’s speech at All Corps last week made me think about is, “the bubble.” The bubble is a term that I have heard a lot since joining SCA NH Corps and I have often wondered why. It’s the kind of thing that you can only realize with a bit of reflection, which is something that I get to do a lot here and with this blog.

What do you think of when you hear the term conservation? Admittedly the first things that jumps to my mind are trail work and invasive species removal because that’s all I’ve known for so many years.

(Photo above) The park at sunset: Walter H. Laufer, park patron

I am sure most of you are reading this blog because like me, you also have a love of wild things and wild places. You may even have had an SCA experience of your own and are looking to hear of others on their journeys. The photo you see above is one that has history.

Data in, data out. This past week I have thumbed through pages and pages of elevation spreadsheets- processing and organizing points for future conclusions. Data entry is important, and building that breadth of information is so necessary in conservation.

As the widely known Disney song conveys to us, the “circle of life moves us all”, but sometimes it can be hard to remember this on a day to day basis as life takes on a quotidian pace. This is why I consider myself lucky to be an SCA at Fire Island National Seashore as a plant biology intern.

(Photo above) A pair of American Oystercatchers

There’s something about New England that keeps drawing me back every summer. It started with a visit to rustic and folksy Vermont with a little of bustling Boston back in 2010.

One of the biggest perks of working at a national Wildlife Refuge as an SCA intern is the amount of opportunities available outside of the job description. Everyone at the Refuge, my supervisor in particular, have been incredibly supportive and active in making sure that I have a real taste of what’s available to me in the Service.