Displaying items by tag: Point Reyes National Park
Monday, 31 August 2020 17:20

Fire Don't Panic!

The past couple of weeks have been a bit overwhelming but educational nonetheless. 

As I had previously mentioned, there is a fire at my park and what started off as a small 5 acre fire quickly grew to 3,000. I was first evacuated from my little home on Limantour road to Bear Valley. In Bear Valley I lived at the non-profit's PRNSA offices. I finally had wifi and felt safer because living somewhere with no wifi or reception during a fire led to many sleepless nights. At Laguna I was constantly worried that I would be evacuated while I was asleep. Everyday the fire was changing so it was unpredictable what the next steps would be. Once the fire began to move north towards my house I was quickly evacuated. I was not home when the evacuation mandate was enacted so I rushed home afraid that I would have to live off one outfit for a couple of days (ew). I was fortunate enough to have time to go back to my home and quickly pack some clothes for the week. During this week I worked with law enforcement in staffing closures, and diverting visitors away from the park. I really enjoyed working on the "front-lines" because it gave me the necessary experience I may need in the future. Working during this time was very exciting and probably my favorite part during my internship experience minus the very bad air quality. After about a week the fire began to move more inland towards the Visitor's Center so once again I was in limbo whether I would be evacuated or not. We were constantly on edge as we peered out and the dark clouds hovered over us threateningly. I kept all my belongings in my car just in case we needed to evacuate again and would not have a lot of time. Once large handfuls of ashes flew from the sky and the spot fires got too near for comfort we were evacuated to a hotel. So for the last days of internships I was living in a hotel and eating take-out everyday. What an interesting way to end my internship! As a result, my supervisor and the leadership team decided that it would be better if I finished the last week of my internship at home to which I agreed. I am now working on translating the fire briefings of the Team 1 fire team into Spanish which is amazing. I am so happy that I am able to help during these uncertain times and I am still able to help the Spanish-speaking community in ensuring they receive important information. 

Until next time, 

Ruby

Published in EFTA intern blog
Tuesday, 18 August 2020 21:47

Collapsed Road, Thunderstorms, Fires, Oh My!

My past few weeks at the Park have been filled with many obstacles but nonetheless enjoyable! 

About two weeks ago the road to my housing collapsed and was very unstable. As a result there was not a safe route to my house so I had to quickly pack up my stuff and find refuge in my home in Southern California. It worked out because with the LHIP workshop coming up I needed stable internet connection which I did not have in my park housing. This was the first time I drove for more than two hours, as my home is approximately a 6.5 hour drive. I filled my time listening to a multitude of podcasts and countless playlists, even so the drive seemed never-ending. I was not looking forward to my drive back. I am not a big fan of driving to begin with but I survived! By the time I returned, the road had been stabilized and it was safe to drive on it once again. 

I have spent these last few weeks roving and staffing some closures. I finally completed the Tomales Point Trail which is a gorgeous 9 mile trail where you can see a number of Elk roaming the hills. Elk are majestic creatures, but their screams send goosebumps down my spine. Their shrieks are ear piercing and do not sound like they came out of an Elk definitely a sound everyone needs to experience at least once. If you were camping and you heard their shriek I am sure you would think someone was in danger. 

This week was filled with thunderstorms, rainstorms and fires! I was woken up at 4AM to my whole house shaking, doors slamming, and windows trembling, on the brink of breaking. In a groggy haze I woke up and closed all the doors and windows, making sure it was not a ghost playing games with my head. I heard the roaring thunder and flashing strikes outside my window and was comforted that a noisy ghost had not inhabited my home. I was somewhat surprised by the storm as just the evening before it was sunny and clear skies, but the heat should have been warning. By the morning, our porch chairs were scattered across the yard, a very large tree limb on the side of my house was hanging on by a thread and the roads were filled with fallen trees and debri. I knew the day was going to be interesting. I was not wrong, I spent my morning outside the red barn catching up on emails when a hefty grey cloud floated slowly over my car. I knew trouble was about to begin. It quickly began to rain, sharp loud raindrops hit the roof of my car intensely. Thunder surrounded the Visitors Center and everyone was called to shelter. Everyone in field was to come back to base and wait out the storm. I was alone so it was slightly terrifying but I did not panic and found a safe place to reside until conditions bettered. All power went out, so once again I was wifi-less and without access to electricity. So I spent my day reading... until I heard on the radio that there was a fire near my home. I quickly headed home to get a go-bag together incase I needed to evacuate. Luckily, I have not had to evacuate YET but fingers crossed I do not have to as I have some ice cream cones that I would rather not go to waste. 

In conclusion, in these past two weeks I have experienced my fair share of stressful events but yet I persevere. I still love my park and I understand that these are the things you deal with when living in nature. I would still do this all over again (except for waking up at 4AM confused). 

That is all for now, 

Ruby

Published in EFTA intern blog
Sunday, 02 August 2020 20:13

Invasive Species Why Crush the Crayfish?

 Spend a day in the field with an endangered coho salmon monitoring team at Point Reyes and you’ll meet a group of people motivated by a love for nature, for whom trudging through a cold river and lugging around equipment only to get their hands covered in fish slime is nothing short of a privilege.

Published in HAF intern blog
Wednesday, 22 July 2020 18:39

A Healing Conversation with John Golda

As an intern you never know what your new position will entail and how well you will work and get along with your new team.

I was very nervous as my second week approached and I was invited to get a tour of the nearby town by the Interpretive team's Operations Manager, John Golda. John Golda is essentially the supervisor of my supervisor. I was nervous because of my previous experience with people in leadership positions. It can be intimidating as an intern to meet someone who is higher up on the totem pole. I prepared for the day, hoping for the best. 

To my delight right away John Golda was welcoming and a breath of fresh air. He introduced his very friendly pets to me and we had lunch. He gave me a history of his experience in the Northern California area and how he came to be who he essentially is. As our conversation continued I was more and more assured that he was an ally of my work and he was rooting for my success. This was a shock to me. I was so used to being looked down upon by those above me that being reassured of my strengths was strange to me. When speaking to John Golda I felt like my words were safe and not judged. My words were not being misconstrued but instead valued. We spoke about imposter syndrome and how everyone can fall victim to it, even him. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are not where are you are supposed to be, that you doubt your accomplishments. It is the fear of being exposed as a "fraud". Being a first generation Latina this is something I constantly struggle with. The feeling that my accomplishments are because of pure luck and not because I worked hard for them. John Golda made sure to dispel my fears that I am not an imposter but instead that just from the conversations I have had with him, I very much was awarded this position because of my achievements and work ethic. To have someone in leadership say this to you is monumental. As interns sometimes we are overlooked and overworked but that is not the case here at Point Reyes National Seashore. 

I feel like my journey led me meet John Golda and to receive the encouragement I needed. I had my confidence knocked down by previous mentors and I am slowly building myself back up. I can only hope that if I every get to a supervisor position I am just a fraction of the kind supervisor that John Golda is. It is refreshing to meet a supervisor that gives you positive affirmations, that tells you not to give up, and tells you that the world needs you. The compassion and empathy that John Golda showed me that day will be remembered for the rest of life. 

I also made sure to ask him "What is some advice you wish you could give your younger self?" to which he replied, I am paraphrasing but it was along the lines of do not rush. Often times young people my age believe that by their mid 20s or by the time they complete their education certain goals NEED to have been met. In doing so we may rush to make certain decisions or commitments. In doing that we take paths that are not true to ourselves. I thought that by the time i graduated I would have a full time job with a 401K and benefits. That is not the case but as John Golda said THAT IS OKAY! It is okay to not have the three bedroom home with a backyard by age 23, we do not need to rush ourselves to reach these hard milestones that society expects us to. I also shared with him my doubts about making it into the Park Service as it is a very competitive field. He explained to me his journey to getting into the Park Service and comforted me by saying that if this is something i really want to pursue, I need to plant the seed and make it happen. It is possible. 

I hope John Golda gets into the Ted Talk business, I can see him inspiring many minds. There is so much that I want to do, sometimes I feel like my ambitions are bursting at the seams but I am determined. I have ideas that jump from page to page but I need the power to take those ideas off the paper and into the third dimension. Everyone wants to be great and I think that is point, to not be content with mediocrity but strive to be better. 

Until Next Time, 

Ruby Gonzalez

Published in EFTA intern blog

Like the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly, the salmon run is one of the most well-known and bizarre life history stories in all of nature. A young coho salmon lives her first year quietly in a shallow, shaded forest stream, feeding on tiny aquatic insects.

Published in HAF intern blog
Sunday, 12 July 2020 19:35

The Part No One Talks About: Homesickness

During my research on my project for Latino Conservation Week, I came across an article that really resonated with me. This article detailed the struggles of minority interns in the Park Service. A quote that I thought about long after reading the article was

"the geographic dislocation that discourages many young people of color from the Park Service was very real to her (Nancy Fernandez, Park Intern). She struggled financially and worried about her future"

In latino culture, it is very rare for kids to stray far from home, even more rare as a daughter. When applying for this internship I knew I would face challenges and that I would have be on my own in a sense. I am from California and I only applied to programs that were in California, fearing that anything out of state would be too hard. I mapped every park I applied to to ensure that my family would still be able to visit me and it would be realistically affordable for them. My family is very tight knit, my brother and his family live only two houses away from me and my mom. I am the youngest of two and the first to fly a little farther from the coop, so this was new for my mom. My mom's youngest was moving 7 hours from her even if it was just for the summer. 

Aside from being 7 hours from home, my mom struggled with the fact that I was literally going to be disconnected digitally, which brought up safety issues for her. Unfortunately, my housing does not have cell service or wifi so I am quite literally disconnected as soon as I get home. This worried her a lot, she even tried to convince me to not stay. She was not comfortable leaving me in a city where I knew no one, and had no way of contacting her once I got home. This lead to many tears, and having to convince my mom that I would be fine and I had to be courageous. It is hard when my support system is begging me not stay but I could not quit before I even had a chance to experience what this journey entailed. I promised her that if I ever felt like it was too much and I was too homesick, I would tell her and she would be on the next flight picking me up. I think my mom also struggled with the fact that I was not in a city but instead a very remote suburban location. Also because of COVID I am not allowed any guests or visitors in my housing which makes things a little more strained. There are days where I feel very alone because it seems like there is so much stacked against me but things are getting easier. I think it's important for me to be transparent about my journey because if others are feeling the same way I want them to know they are not alone. You are not weak for missing your family, and being home-sick, something I have to remind myself almost daily. The transition is uncomfortable and scary but by stretching ourselves past our comfort zone we are growing. 

My first week was very very rough to say the least, being away from family during a pandemic is not an easy feat but it is one I am slowly overcoming. As I approach my fourth week, I have established a routine and I am so excited about my work for Latino Conservation Week. I am glad that I took the leap into the unknown and that the work I will be doing will be impactful. I hope others feel the same way too! 

Published in EFTA intern blog
Wednesday, 01 July 2020 00:29

The Adventure Begins

My first week at The Point Reyes National Seashore was informative. The Point Reyes National Seashore is a 70,000 acre park in Marine County, Northern California.

Published in HAF intern blog
Friday, 24 April 2020 00:10

Ruby Gonzalez

I am a first-generation college graduate with a bachelor’s in science in Environmental Studies from California State University, Long Beach. Although my academic studies heavily emphasized the biological and ecological components of Environmental Science, my work experience centers around Environmental Justice and the social implications of environmental issues. I believe that to be a great scientist, social disparities must be acknowledged and assessed. My career goal is to bridge the gap between overburdened and underrepresented communities and the institutions that burden them. I currently work as an outdoor science teacher for elementary school-aged kids where I teach environmental lessons in outdoor environments such as regional parks. I love working alongside nature, nature is the best coworker. As a result, I am very excited to learn more about the Park and Forest Service. I am especially grateful for LHIP and the opportunity to explore all that our National Parks have to offer.

Published in Intern Bios
Thursday, 01 August 2019 07:33

Ten Weeks Have Passed: Un resumen de Mi Verano.

Ten weeks have passed. Time flies and I can’t believe my stay at Point Reyes National Seashore has ended. I had an incredible time and the summer of 2019 is now the best summer I have ever had.

Ten weeks have passed. The field surveys alongside the park’s biologists have given a complete new perspective on what lies ahead after I am done completing my wildlife degree this upcoming year. Seeing spotted owls, snowy plovers, capturing steelhead fish, and getting to see distinct aspects of elk research have been life changing and inspiring experiences. The biologists were very helpful and each one shared insightful words that I will take with me.

Ten weeks have passed. Latino Conservation Week was very special because I had the opportunity to share my passion for nature with amazing people. First the event at the Richardson Bay Audubon Center and Sanctuary allowed families to dance, play, and to learn about our natural environment while building a sense of joy and togetherness. My “We’ll Explore the First Mile” hike gave me the opportunity to expose people to the natural beauty of Point Reyes National Seashore and I got to experience what it’s like to plan, and lead an event. I had an amazing group of people, the hike was fun, lengthy and I received important feedback from my supervisor.

Ten weeks have passed. Blue Ranch, the place where I lived in point Reyes National Seashore. Blue Ranch is a beautiful place where the sun, its sunsets, the ocean, the fog, and wildlife gathered to make me feel right at home. After living in urbanized settings for most of life I tend to forget that places as peaceful as Blue Ranch exist. Blue Ranch is one of those places that you think of when you hear the opening lines of In My Life.

Ten weeks have passed. Point Reyes National Seashore is more than a seashore and more than a lighthouse. I had so much fun exploring the forests, wetlands, beaches, ridges, sand dunes, and grasslands. My program’s coordinator and her daughter said it best when they visited, “it feels like we’re in a different day,” a comment they made as we travelled from the valley to Chimney Rock. Please visit Point Reyes National Seashore, it’s beautiful.

Ten weeks have passed. The wildlife at Point Reyes. The wildlife at Point Reyes. Wow. Birds, mammals, fish, intertidal invertebrates. Wow. I shake my head at the thought of every animal that I got to see. Some the highlights included spotted owls (obviously), snowy plovers (for my Humboldt heart), black oystercatchers, a kildeer, bat stars, elephant seals, ospreys, a white-tailed kite, river otters feeding on a brown pelican, coyotes howling outside Blue Ranch, a salamander, two long-tailed weasels. Wow. I will be coming to spot those that hid during my ten weeks, I’m looking at you bobcats, “common redpoll”, and whales. I never took the wildlife that surrounded me for granted.

Ten weeks have passed. How about my experiences with the public. As an introvert I thought it was going to be challenging to talk to visitors. It was not difficult and maybe I am not an introvert after all. There were a few times where my voice was done. I talked to a lot of visitors specially during the last few weeks. Talking to people at the visitor center could be repetitive, but I learned to embrace it. I had a lot awesome interactions with the public (especially when we talked about the wildlife). My experience with the public gave my public speaking skills, a much needed boost of confidence.

Ten weeks have passed. The division of interpretation of Point Reyes National Seashore is full of amazing rockstars. Every member of the staff is very flexible, kind, knowledgeable, patient, gifted and everything in between. I feel so lucky I was able to work each and everyday with this amazing group of beautiful of people. My last few days were very nostalgic, it was painful saying goodbye to each member of the division. I still do not know how I managed to avoid crying during each goodbye. I cried after, I will tell you that and I am crying now. Tears of joy. Interp staff, los admiro y los quiero mucho. *(I forgot someone in my last blog To May: Thank you for your kindness, the laughter and good spirits).

Ten weeks have passed. Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) is an incredible program. I have no words to express my gratitude for everything this internship has provided me. From personal to professional growth, to an introduction to amazing people that work for the National Park Service. For allowing me to meet other people who share my passion for nature, those with my background and much more. This is an excellent program and I got to meet people (LHIP alumni) who are living proof of its potential success. I hope the program continues going forward because there are a lot of amazing individuals who have much to offer to the National Park Service and society as whole. 

Ten week have passed. To everyone: work hard, be kind, dream big, believe in yourself, take care of each other, take care of yourself, learn from each other, be proud of who you are, take care of your natural environment, take care of the wildlife, be persistent, smile, cry, and smile again. I believe in you.

Thank you for joining me. I appreciate your time. Los quiero mucho. 

Special thank you to Lupe, Rulas y Rooney (my family), powerful Ranger Arreglo, Dalia Dorta. Gracias por creer en mi.

Kevin García López

“You belong somewhere you feel free.”

Published in EFTA intern blog
Wednesday, 31 July 2019 19:54

Something Special: Meaningful Connections

One of the biggest things about the internship has been the exposure to wonderful people. My experience at Point Reyes National Seashore would not have been as incredible if it wasn’t for everyone I had the pleasure to meet and work with. The following individuals deserve all the recognition and gratitude:

Ranger Carlo Arreglo (my supervisor): As well-rounded as it gets and then some. He is a textbook birder who loves to share “classic" bird identification characteristics with anyone within the vicinity. He’s by far one of the kindest persons I have met—there’s not a single grain of saltiness in him. Everyone will agree with me that after you have a conversation with him, you leave with a bag full of knowledge and a smile.

As a supervisor Ranger Arreglo has given a virtuoso performance. He provided me with amazing wildlife opportunities alongside Point Reyes National Seashore biologists and these experiences have molded my views about my career. He always provided constructive feedback after my performances and events; truly something I respected and needed. This internship did not have a single low point (because of Carlo). Instead, it was full of highlights, challenges, laughter, knowledge, and confidence building opportunities that helped me develop as a person and as an aspiring biologist. Carlo is an exceptional person, and as my mom says “es un ejemplo a saguir”.  Thank you for this opportunity, for the laughter, the experiences, and the memories. 

Diego Morales: is a Mosaics in Science intern that has worked with me this entire summer. It has been a pleasure to work along with him and this experience shows how much people can accomplish when they work together. Although he insists he’s not a passionate fan of animals, he had a great time coming out with the ecologists during field days along with me and never complained. I must thank him for his support and for his amazing photo coverage during all the events we were involved with. We worked together for ten weeks, but it only took a few days to realize Diego is an awesome coworker. Now ten weeks into the internship he has become my “colega,” a true friend, and someone I identify as my brother. He’s a total professional and will excel anywhere he ends up. Thank you Diego.

There is always a concern about including the names of people in blogs or social media, but I think it’s important to recognize the people who work hard. It’s important to recognize the people who inspire others. Recognizing these individuals is not done enough in our society for this I would like to include the name of the amazing members of the Division of Interpretation of Point Reyes National Seashore:

John Golda: Thank you for believing in the Latino Heritage Internship Program, for your insightful words, and humor.

Dough Hee: Thank you for inspiring me with your work ethic and professionalism.

Anela Kopshever: Thank you for your awesome energy, it’s inspiring.

Marybeth Shenton: Thank you for all the support you have given me, you’re a professional—it has been an honor.

Chris Lish: Thank you for all your dedication and for all your patience.

Fiona O’kelly: Thank you for all your support and kindness. It means a lot.

Pascal Sisich: Thank you for all the laughter and support.

Rebecca Hartman: Thank you for being an awesome colleague.

Marie Wright: Thank you for always providing enrichment opportunities, kindness and support. Electrofishing changed my perspective about fish biology.

 

Thank you for all the excellent work that you for the National Park Service and for Point Reyes National Seashore. 

 

Muchas gracias a todos. Nos vemos pronto.

 

Published in EFTA intern blog
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