Thursday, 23 April 2020 21:44

Cynthia Agustin

Cynthia Agustin is a first-generation Guatemalan-American, born and raised in Southern California. She grew up going on hikes and camping trips with her family, and fell in love with the outdoors at a young age. Her most cherished memories involve visiting National Parks in California, where she found her passion in conservation and sustainability. While growing up in Southern California, she witnessed the environmental and social impacts that climate change and pollution has had on her community, which inspired her to pursue her education in environmental science. Cynthia is currently a senior at California State University, Long Beach, where she will obtain a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science and Policy with a Minor in Geography. In the future, she plans to further her education and pursue a Masters degree in environmental conservation. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, baking, hiking, spending time with her family and friends, and hopes to visit many more National Parks throughout the country.

Published in Intern Bios
Wednesday, 17 July 2019 18:29

Remotely in the forest

Hi everyone,

These past three weeks have been physically and mentally challenging for my research project.

I’ve been occupied collecting data throughout Grant Grove – Kings Canyon National Park and I must have to say it has been a wonderful journey. I have visited several areas throughout the park where the average visitor would have never had the chance to see.

It involves steep terrain and physically challenging hikes, but at the end of it all it’s definitely worth it. I am near the end of collecting data, so from here on it will be analyzing the data and establishing reports for final results.

I am very excited to show you all my research findings and present in Washington DC in the near future.

Till then,

Jonathan Tejeda

Published in EFTA intern blog
Sunday, 07 July 2019 00:29

A Learning Experience

Hi everyone,

As I progress into my research project I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with several influential researchers across different fields of sciences. I learned so much from them when it comes to learning new methodologies of research and their perspectives on how they approach their research objectives. Being surrounded by brilliant individuals definitely encourages me to continue giving 150% during my internship term here.

The experience I have learned so far has been integrated into my research project design and I can confidently claim that I am very proud of where I am leading with my project so far. I won’t give too much information about it yet as I am still pending with the research component, but once I get it finalized I’ll be sure to update you all. All I will say is that my project involves forestry, geography, and a lot of field work for the collection of new data!

Overall the new experiences I have obtained so far have been extremely beneficial for even my academic career for a potential graduate thesis.

Jonathan Tejeda

Published in EFTA intern blog
Monday, 01 July 2019 17:36

An Unexpected Feeling

Published in EFTA intern blog

Hello everyone!

This week was a success as I did my first “Grant Tree Walk”! It was about 40 minutes long and I got to share with many visitors how important our role is in protecting Sequoia trees for future generations. I do have to say, at the beginning of my internship I was really nervous to talk to the visitors, but I have been blessed with an amazing staff as they have been very supportive since the day I arrived. So, because of this, I want to dedicate this blog to one of the most influential people I have had the privilege of meeting here, Park Ranger Meredith P.

Where to begin! In just one month, I have learned so much about Kings Canyon NP and Sequoia trees thanks to Meredith. I have shadowed her interpretive talks and walks, and I must say, they are awesome! Her programs really inspire me, and I admire her passion and commitment to do interpretive programs and being able to share them with others. Which is why I have asked her to come to my programs because I value her input and want to do better!

So, to my most influential person, I want to say thank you! Thank you for answering all of my questions so far, for letting me shadow your programs, for sharing your knowledge with me and continuing to do so, for helping me with grocery shopping and most importantly for letting me play with your cute little puppy Moose!

Por eso y lo que vendrá te agradezco Meredith y ¡hasta la próxima con todos/as!

Oh, I also want to say, Sorry Meredith! because it has only been one month and there is still plenty of time for me to bother you with more questions and concerns

Published in HAF intern blog
Tuesday, 18 June 2019 18:33

Inspiration in the air!

Living at Sequoia National Park I have been fortunate to meet wonderful people from all over the country of different backgrounds. The quality of life here is much simpler than what I normally am used to in Los Angeles, but I actually really enjoy it. Considering that there is no phone service, people are forced to become social and interact. I’ll be quite honest it can take a while to get used to as one does not realize how truly dependent they are of their phone for entertainment. It forces people to become extroverted and pass time by simply enjoying the community they reside in.

Engaging with so many wonderful people at the park makes it difficult to pin point just one individual that has inspired me at the park. Everyone that works at the park has their own significant story as to how they got to where they are now. It is admirable to hear the risks that had to be done that led these individuals closer to their endeavors.

All the individuals show motivation and are willing environmental stewards of this park and it is truly inspiring to become a part of this community and park. It has led me to realize just how reassured I feel that this career path I am pursuing was the right decision.


What are you goals and who has inspired you?


Till then,

Jonathan Tejeda

Published in HAF intern blog
Thursday, 13 June 2019 21:17

Something New You Have Learned

How’s it going?

This week I explored Giant Forest with the SIEN forest crew to monitor Sequoia health. We collected data on whether the trees were dead or alive, and the status of the tree’s foliage, which indicates stress levels. If a sequoia tree has “dieback”, or a certain amount of needle loss, this means that the tree can be under attack from beetles, have a lack of water or sunlight, or some other stressor affecting it.

I also had a chance to spend a day at the Wolverton camp with high school volunteers that were working with the National Park Service at Sequoia National Park. One of the lead wildlife technicians gave the group a talk about bears, as well as bear safety. They explained that the American black bear is the only type of bear that naturally lives in the Sierra Nevada. Grizzly bears, which were also once prevalent in the area, were hunted to extinction decades ago. Black bears are not aggressive like grizzlies, but rather skittish and evasive of humans.

Being a responsible visitor to the park includes being aware of how to properly store and dispose of food, trash, and anything with a smell that could attract bears. It may seem like we could be doing the bear a favor by leaving food outside for it, but bears that associate humans with food are monitored by the NPS wildlife crew. If these bears are found to repeatedly rummage for human food, they could be considered a threat to visitors and be euthanized.

To keep this from happening, the wildlife crew does their best to scare away bears. In an effort to make bears associate humans with unpleasant things so they can stay away from us, they make loud noises, yell, shoot rubber bullets, and chase them. The wildlife crew works to keep the bears and park visitors safe, and we can do our part by not feeding our wildlife and being responsible about our waste.

The photo above shows my first bear sighting here in California. I heard the wildlife techs yelling and clapping and I looked out of my cabin window in time to see a bear passing through the Lodgepole living area! The bear made it safely to the other side of the forest.

Published in EFTA intern blog
Thursday, 13 June 2019 18:59

Opportunities for Growth!

Being at the park I have been given several opportunities to explore different positions offered at the National Park Service (NPS). So far I have received hands-on experience in assisting several division within natural resources such as, Hazard Tree Survey Crew, Inventory and Monitoring crew, tree demographics crew, and educational outreach.

I have learned so far the different complexities and levels of assessments that vary from several positions previously mentioned. For instance, analyzing the impacting factors on a tree’s health in with such emphasis to a more simplified surveys determining if the tree is alive or dead. Each position ranges differently on how they assess tree health and other indicators revolving forest conditions.

Learning new forms of methods/protocols that federal agencies utilize is beneficial to crossover in my academic career and my Sugar Pine research project. The internship is arranged to give the interns endless opportunities for growth and is very flexible depending on the intern’s interest.

I highly recommend this opportunity for emerging Latinos such as myself you will not regret it!


Till then, ¡adios!

Jonathan Tejeda


Published in EFTA intern blog
Monday, 03 June 2019 16:47

My Project

Hi all!

I’m at the start of my third week here! The snow in Lodgepole has mostly melted, and while the snow was nice to see, I’m hoping it doesn’t come back. However, we are at high elevation, so my hopes may not be realistic. Pictured here is one of the last, beautiful days of snow here at Lodgepole. Since the snow has melted, I have been able to explore more areas of the park, including the area around the river near my cabin. 

This week’s focus is choosing a subject on Sequoia tree demographics, which I will further explore and develop into a research project. So far, my possible project topics include resampling juvenile trees related to the original census taken in the 1960s, comparing the demographics between burned and unburned plots of trees, marking differences between groups of Sequoia trees in front country (closer to cities or civilization) VS. the wilderness, and learning about seedling recruitment in regard to the recent 2012-2016 drought while using a database of drought information dating back to around 30 years.

I will be meeting with my project supervisor, Dr.Christy Brigham, to find a topic I would be most interested in, determine how feasible it is to create a project around it within the amount of time I have this summer, and clearly define the goals of each week to complete my investigation. The other part of my internship project is the interpretation segment, where I will be educating the public on my work and the park.

I’m really looking forward to deciding on a specific topic that will provide direction for my study, and I can’t wait for all the discoveries I’ll make this summer. I’m also excited to talk  to park visitors about park conservation!

See you next week!


Published in EFTA intern blog
Monday, 03 June 2019 16:39

Introducing myself

Hi Everyone!

My name is Citlali Villarreal, and I am an intern for the 2019 cohort of the Latino Heritage Internship Program. I am from Galveston, Texas, studying as an undergrad at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

I will be working for the National Park Service in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for 11 weeks. As a Sequoia tree monitoring and demography intern, my work consists of conducting an independent research project on Sequoia tree demography under Dr. Christy Brigham. For the public service component of my position, I'll be working on a public education program for the visitors at the park and telling them about my research.

Even though it’s May, there is still snow up here, which will probably be melting in the following week or so. Once that happens, I'll be exploring more of the park and familiarizing myself with the area.

This photo stares down a small gully next to my living area. It's been really wonderful listening to this rushing stream everyday and having this view right outside my window.

I am so excited for this opportunity! Tune in to my blogs here at the LHIP website, which will be updated with new blogs every week!

Thank you!


Published in EFTA intern blog
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