EFTA intern blog
EFTA intern blog

EFTA intern blog (123)

Friday, October 11, 2019

The Sun Sets on My Internship

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On the last day of my LHIP internship at Dinosaur National Monument, I want to share some of the results of my work on monarch butterflies. First, in my field work this summer and fall, I saw around 300 adult monarchs. These high numbers have suggested that the monarchs in this area might be part of the eastern monarch population that migrates to Mexico rather than the western population that goes to California. The California…
Monday, October 07, 2019

My Guide to Catching Monarch Butterflies

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Throughout my internship experience researching monarch butterflies, I have been trying to encourage people to become monarch butterfly citizen scientists. A citizen scientist is someone who isn’t a professional scientists but can still contribute to important research. In the case of monarch research, citizens can be involved with about everything, including catching and tagging monarchs for migration research. The more citizen scientists there are reporting tagging monarchs, the more we can learn about migration. As…
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During my internship, Dinosaur has caught and tagged 150 monarch butterflies. (Pictured is a mosaic of pictures of most of our tagged monarchs). Out of those 150 catches, some stick in my memory as particularly special. Without further ado, here’s the list of the five best monarch catches of my internship. #5 The 100th monarch The actual catch on this monarch was nothing too special, but there was much fanfare about catching and tagging our…
Friday, September 20, 2019

Inspiring Monarch Citizen Science

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I recently administered a monarch butterfly school field trip at Dinosaur for middle school students from nearby Vernal, Utah. On the day of the field trip, I arrived with colleagues to the Josie’s Cabin area a little before 7:30. On this early morning, the goal was for our team to catch as many monarchs as we could before the student’ arrival at 9:00. Then, we could start their field trip by tagging a batch of…
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While rafting on the Green River last week, I continued the tasks I have been working on all summer: surveying for monarch butterfly habitat and tagging adult butterflies. Surveying for habitat meant recording the presence and approximate number of milkweed plants along each river mile. For about the first two days of the float, milkweed was present in nearly continuous patches on both sides of the river. Farther downstream, patches started shrinking and becoming fewer…
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Back From Rafting the Green River

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Last week, I was lucky enough to be a participant on a big horn sheep and monarch butterfly biological survey trip on the Green River. Since the stunning and dramatic canyons of the Green are hardly accessible on day trips or by car, we needed a multi-day trip of rafting to look for sheep and monarchs in the heart of the river canyons. Thus, a group of 11 park staff and volunteers loaded up onto…
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Over Labor Day weekend, I helped out and attended events at “Dark Skies over Dinosaur,” a multi-day stargazing/astronomy/night sky festival celebrating Dinosaur’s recent designation as an International Dark Sky Park. To earn recognition as a Dark Sky Park, Dinosaur has had to prove that it meets rigorous measures for sky darkness, remains open and accessible for citizens to enjoy the dark sky, and takes steps to conserve the darkness. In part, keeping the park dark…
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Along with tagging monarch butterflies to study their migration paths, in my internship I am also conducting field surveys for milkweed, monarch butterfly eggs, and monarch caterpillars. I send my data to both the Southwest Monarch Study and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. USFWS is currently using data to decide whether monarchs need to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. My work is important because little is known about monarchs in the Uintah…
Monday, September 02, 2019

Seeing Other Pollinators in the Uinta Basin

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As much as butterflies need flowers and their nectar for food, flowers also need butterflies and other animals for pollination. I’ve caught monarchs off of flowers and seen their bodies covered with a thin dust that’s ready to be deposited on another flower. It’s cool to observe the mutualism between plants and pollinating animals. It’s also cool when I catch a butterfly and it is so shocked to have been caught that its long skinny…
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Now that I have a few weeks of butterfly field work experience under my belt, I am beginning to spread my wings (butterfly pun sincerely intended) to conduct field work in areas outside of my main field site in Dinosaur National Monument. Since little is known about monarch butterflies in the greater Uintah Basin area of Northeastern Utah, I have traveled around the region to survey for monarchs and milkweed. So far, I’ve gone to…
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I recently had the chance to join Dinosaur National Monument staff in welcoming the Preserve America Youth Summit program to the Monument. The participants in the Youth Summit were middle and high school students from the Denver area who traveled to Dinosaur for two days to learn about conservation and preservation in the Monument. They also were there to reflect on issues the Monument has faced and ways the visitor experience could be improved. During…
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On August 10, I helped with the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Hike and Tagging Workshop at Josie’s Cabin in Dinosaur National Monument. This event was intended to teach participants about monarch ecology and conservation, show people how we do monarch research, and gather lots of data. With the help of a group of 5 netters, 2 park interpreters, and many volunteers, we successfully caught and tagged 26 monarchs over the course of about 3 hours. This…
Friday, August 09, 2019

Adios, Alaska

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The time to say goodbye has come. I purposively decided to write this blog at the end of my internship. I must admit, I am sad that this experience is ending. When it first started, I wanted time to pass me by, but now I wish I could stop time, allowing me to continue to enjoy the scenery and friends I made. It has been an amazing opportunity to get to experience of the inner…
Friday, August 09, 2019

The Chilkoot Trail

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What is going on everyone?! There are only two weeks left of my internship. I am extremely sad that it is coming to an end. The people have been amazing. The scenery has been amazing. The work has been amazing. Part of my park experience is to backpack the Chilkoot Trail to get a better understanding of the tremendous journey prospectors undertook for hope at a better life. At first, I was skeptical of doing…
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Within the past seven days, I have had the great opportunity to visit the three parks that make up the High Plains Group. This group, within the Intermountain Region, consists of Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site in La Junta, CO, Capulin Volcano National Monument in Capulin, NM, and Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Eads, CO. Other than my home site of Bent’s Old Fort, I went for the second time to Capulin…
Thursday, August 01, 2019

Catching My First Monarch Butterfly

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I began working at Dinosaur National Monument last week as the resource monitoring and science communication intern. My objective for this internship is to contribute to monarch butterfly research and to communicate this information with the general public. After spending my first two days getting oriented to Dinosaur, I had the chance to collect some data on my third day. I traveled to the Josie’s Cabin area in Dinosaur with my two NPS supervisors, two…
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