Displaying items by tag: Point Reyes National Park
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

The land that we know today as Point Reyes got its name from Spanish explorer and soldier Sebastián Vizcaíno, a man who gave many of the geographical features of coastal California their modern names. But while the name Punto de los Reyes remains today in its Americanized form, it is important in 2020, as America at long last opens its eyes to an indisputable history of racial injustice, to acknowledge that it was not Vizcaíno who first discovered this land. Point Reyes was not his to name.

Published in HAF 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

Here’s an overview of a few projects that I have been involved in during the last few weeks:

My first program: Mammals, Binoculars and Birding

Point Bonita YMCA organized a visit to Point Reyes National Seashore to bring out kindergarten campers for a short hike and for a few activities. This was a perfect opportunity to plan my first program since children can be a fun and challenging audience. I knew I had to be very creative to ensure that their attention was fully grasped through the activities, so I thought tactile park props such as skulls and skins of animals would be great learning tools to engage them. I recently took a mammalogy class where I learned how to identify mammals by using skull characteristics, so this was a great way to share cool details about mammals and spark their attention early on. I also planned an introduction to binoculars program to teach the children how to use binoculars to encourage them to look at the birds in the park. I prepared for the event as if I was going to give a presentation to my classmates in one of my wildlife classes (I had a thorough outline that I reviewed probably more than I needed to).

After setting up the mammalogy table and the binoculars for the children I waited for the scheduled hour (11:00 am) and anxiously waited for the sound of a school bus. The bus finally arrived and the children made their way into the picnic area across the visitor center where we were set up. It was a group of 24 children, full of energy and ready to learn (but mostly play). By the time they approached the table, the outline for the activities had to be improvised and without an introduction the children had their attention and hands on the animal skulls and skins.  They asked questions left and right, “What animal is this?” “does this jaw belong to this”, “this is so soft (gray fox skin)”. By the time I answered a question, they were already focusing on the next skull or skin. After fifteen minutes of mammalogy madness the group was divided into two: one followed my colleague Diego for an earthquake program at the Earthquake Trail and the other followed me for the binoculars and birding introduction. I passed the binoculars out, gave a quick lesson on how to handle and properly use them and now we were ready to look at birds and other animals in the area. The children spent most of their time looking at ravens, a few Brewer’s blackbirds, at each other and at me. A few children needed additional help on how to focus the binoculars, others managed to untie the straps, but in spite of that they had a great time. I learned quite a bit from this: outlines may be necessary but as a presenter you have to improvise. Children are full of energy, their attention span is very short, but they’re a joy to work with. The intent of the binoculars program was to plant the explorer seed into the children and inspire them to enjoy, study and respect the natural wildlife that shares a space with them. I was very fortunate since a few were fully focused on determining what bird they were looking at by comparing to bird guide chart. The YMCA organizers decided to plan another visit on the 31st of July and you can be certain that I will be making another outline.

Image 1: Point Bonita YMCA campers learning how to bird. Photo taken by Ranger Arreglo.

What is electrofishing?

Sounds like fun. Electrofishing is a fish survey technique performed in creeks to capture, identify, measure the length, and mass of fish. It is done by setting up a pool in a creek by placing nets in two ends of the creek with the use of rocks and sticks to sustain the nets. This method, maintains the fish in a pool that is roughly 5 meters in length. After the pool is set up, a member of the crew puts-on a ghostbusters-like backpack mixed with a metal detector used to shock and stun the fish for a quick second (the voltage is only strong enough to stun them). Two additional members follow the individual with the backpack with nets. They wait for the a fish to be stunned and when a fish is finally stunned they capture it with a net and then pass it to another member that places the fish on buckets distributed along the creek. Each survey lasts about 10 minutes and the area is covered about three times. After the survey is done, the members then record the data of each fish that was captured and release them after that’s completed. The organisms that are studied include steelheads (Oncorhynchus mykiss), sculpins (Cottoidea), lampreys (Entosphenus tridentatus) and salamanders.

This was an awesome experience because we had to hike into the sites in forested terrains and and we eventually walked in the creek (we wore waders of course, which was a another first for me) while carrying all the equipment. Once we set the nets at the survey location I was first assigned to collect and place the captured fish into the buckets and then write the data. After we finished collecting the data of the first site, I had the role of capturing the fish alongside Brentley McNeill, the fisheries biologist who operated the “ghostbuster device”. Immediately after shocking a fish, Brentley yells out “Fish On!” and that is the signal for the catchers to capture the fish. The interesting part about the process is that even when the fishes (different species) are stunned, they are still difficult to capture. Teresa Urrutia was the other member of the fisheries crew who captures the fish (also performs the measurements) and she certainly had the quickness and skill to capture them. She was an expert. After a few failed attempts, I gained enough skill to capture fish. I was so thrilled because I always want to be as resourceful as possible when I am invited to perform surveys with the ecologists and as an aspiring biologist I know the effort it takes to perform a survey, and the importance of collecting data. We performed a survey in four different locations and we walked entirely on the creek that was thigh-deep at times. I had so much fun walking through the creek as I avoided the stinging nettle and poison oak that hanged over the creek. Unfortunately, I rubbed my elbow in stinging nettle because I decided not wear my LHIP long-sleeve shirt. Great move. The stinging is not too painful, the feeling is similar to the feeling that occurs when your leg falls asleep, but I am extremely fortunate it was only stinging nettle instead of poison oak.

This experience gave me a different perspective on fish biology. I find all animals interesting, but fish are definitely at the bottom end of my list. Through this study however, I learned that performing fish surveys is an enjoyable experience. Now I am thinking of enrolling in an Ichthyology (study of fish) class at Humboldt State and I am also open to work with fish in the future.


Image 2: Kevin (left) recording the mass, length and ID of a sculpin. Teresa (right) measuring the sculpin. Photo taken by Diego Morales.

 Tule Elk with Dane y Consejos Muy Valiosos

All the experiences I had so far as an intern in Point Reyes National Seashore have been extremely helpful. I have gained valuable field experience during the wildlife surveys, I have gained a lot of confidence in public speaking by working in the visitor center where I interact with the public and I have had the opportunity to organize a few programs as well. And of course, I have met a lot of wonderful people.

My awesome supervisor, once again set up another amazing opportunity to meet and perform a general survey with the Tule Elk ecologist Dane Horowski. My project for Latino Conservation Week was to organize an interpretive hike to expose the public to the endemic Tule Elk and Dane shared a lot of important and helpful information about the elk in the park. Dane spoke to me about their reproductive behavior, their biology and about their local history. The site that we visited was very interesting because the bulls (males) were already bugling and some were already seen with their herd of females. This means that rutting season begins earlier for this set of elk compared to the elk located in the Tule Elk Reserve. I heard the elk bugle and wow, I was amazed. You should pause, search in the interwebs “bull elk bugle” and comeback right after. Then you will know how shocking it is to hear these large ungulates during the rut.

Hearing the elk bugle was already a highlight, but Dane shared his experience as a wildlife biologist; from his college years to the immense number of positions and animals he has worked with (mountain lions, bears, turtles, ferrets, turkey, elk, wolves, small mammals). Dane is as game as it gets for wildlife biologists. I was so impressed by all the studies he has performed and I’m never going to forget how passionate he is about his experiences. It’s not easy becoming a wildlife biologist, it’s difficult to find a permanent position (especially with the park service), and you have to be willing to make a lot of sacrifices to gain experience and move forward. It’s a challenge and it was overwhelming to hear how much he has traveled. He was honest about the difficulties of the field, but at the same time he was very encouraging. His advice was so insightful, motivating and gave me a wider perspective of the entire picture. Thank you Dane.

It has become a tradition now. Special thank you to the Point Bonita YMCA, Brentley McNeill and Teresa Urrutia and Dane Horowski. It has been a honor. 

Cuidense mucho. No vemos pronto.

Published in EFTA intern blog
Wednesday, 03 July 2019 03:06

El Búho Moteado (Strix occidentalis caurina)

Point Reyes National Seashore houses an incredible amount of wildlife diversity that includes elephant seals, the endemic Tule elks, and black oystercatchers to name a few (I wish I could list all the animals I have seen, but I'll be kind to the readers). If you have a particular animal you have been looking forward to seeing and adding to your list, Point Reyes will likely offer the opportunity to spot it. Luckily for me, one of my favorite groups of animals is well represented in the area, these fall under the order Strigiformes; the owls (from Barn Owls to Northern Saw-whet owls). I have come to appreciate all species of birds specially over the last few years, but I have a soft-spot for owls (it could be because of their morphology and behavior, their hooting and a few personal experiences doing releases). 

Biologists at the park conduct a wide variety of studies and one of the most intriguing is the Northern Spotted Owl study. This owl is currently recognized as a threatened species mainly because of the increasing numbers of barred owls that have expanded their territories to the Northwest where they outcompete the spotted owls. During my interview for this position, Ranger Arreglo mentioned that the internship provides an opportunity to join a biologist to perform an owl survey and of course I was very excited.

After a couple of weeks into the internship, the schedules finally lined-up to join Taylor Ellis the park's wildlife technician. I was warned by my supervisor that the survey would likely occur in highly vegetated areas covered with poison oak and stinging nettle (the perks of hiking off-trail), so I thought I had to bubble wrap myself to make it out of the hike rash-free. After a quick drive to an undisclosed location we grabbed our backpacks and entered a wild trail to search for owls that had not been observed during this years survey. For a second the trail was clear, but that changed quickly. I found myself dodging branches, tripping on fallen trees, scanning for poison oak and making sure I kept up with Taylor who is a master of the terrain. One of the surveying methods to find owls is to play recorded calls of both males and females. This can either attract them to the area or can also force them to respond to the calls. The latter happened. After playing the recorded call we heard a response and Taylor quickly pointed out the location and we continued the hike towards that area. The terrain did not get any easier, we descended and ascended hills with overpopulated communities of plants and we eventually crossed and walked along a creek of water. We continued playing the recording and Taylor pointed out a few key sightings that indicate the presence of owls--large amounts of wash-up (bird defecation) left on trees and on plants. Taylor played the recording once more and we waited. I had been part of an owl survey done at night during my wildlife techniques class trip this last spring and we did not spot a single owl. The interesting part of the owl survey with Taylor, it happened during the day. I tried to prepare myself to avoid any disappointment if we did not spot a single owl.

It finally happened, a Northern Spotted Owl (female) flew and perched on a tree about 4 meters above us. It was not shy at all (which surprised me). It remained on the tree as it assessed the situation, at this point I was losing it. Here I was in front of a threatened species, one of my favorite animals and not during the night (owl in the day). I contained myself for the most part, but to say that I was excited is an understatement. A few minutes later, Taylor encountered another owl (a male) just a few meters away, at this point I thought this was my favorite wildlife experience I ever had. Taylor went on to collect the data: recording of the location, individuals observed and most importantly if there was a nest that belonged to the pair (but we did not find one). The protocol of Northern Spotted Owls surveys includes a procedure called mousing in which a live mouse is offered (placed on a branch) and this can help determine whether there is a nest in the area if the owl takes it back to its nest. If I thought I had seen it all, I was mistaken. Taylor placed a rodent on a branch and shortly after, I was able to witness how owls capture and consume their prey. This was an amazing experience. Later that day we hiked into another location where a nest had been observed and of course we were once again fortunate to see another pair of owls and their chick on the nest. Again, what an incredible experience.

People often remember a defining moment that inspired to them to pursue their career. I always think about trips to the zoo and my camping trips at Yosemite; these moments have definitely channeled me into the world of natural sciences. Now that I have had a bit of time to reflect on everything that I was able to experience during the survey--this has become one of the moments I am referring to. This owl survey has had a monumental impact on me. It has inspired so much to continue working hard to complete my wildlife and vertebrate ecology degree and to continue my education after that. This experience, like the snowy plover survey has helped me confirm that I want to perform field biology. Seeing the owl a few meters away from me left me speechless, it was a life changing experience that I will never forget.

Once again, I will end up the blog with a big thank you to some amazing people. Thank you to Taylor Ellis for allowing me to join his owl survey, you have inspired me so much. Thank you to my supervisor Ranger Arreglo for arranging all these opportunities, I can't thank you enough. Thank you to my colega, Mosaics intern Diego Morales for joining me on all these unexpected adventures, I'm happy I have shared these moments with you. Thank you to Jenn and the amazing staff at CWC for inspiring me to work with wildlife. A final thank you to my Humboldt family and future wildlife biologists Janett and Olivia (and everyone else), your support makes a difference.

¡Gracias colegas!

Published in EFTA intern blog
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