Marisol Morales

Marisol Morales

Monday, 17 June 2019 22:48

I Am the Lorax, I Speak for the Trees

¡Hola a todos!

As an interpretive intern, my first program is the Big Tree Talk. It is a 20 minute educational talk all about Sequoia trees, the biggest trees in the whole world!

To prepare, I’ve researched and shadowed the interpretive park ranger’s talks in order to get ideas. My talk focuses on the Sequoias survival at each stage of their life and the negative/positive human history associated with the trees. Sequoia trees produce millions of seeds and less than 1% of those seeds even germinate. This is because of unsuitable conditions or the seeds get eaten by squirrels. Despite multiple obstacles, these trees grow up to more than 250 feet high and 29 feet in diameter. They can also live up to 3,000 years old!

In the 1850s, people started cutting down the trees for wood. However, the wood was so brittle, up to 80% of the tree shattered when it hit the ground. A lot of the tree was wasted and they turned the salvageable wood into fence posts, pencils, and toothpicks! TOOTHPICKS! As you can imagine, turning the world's largest trees into toothpicks made a lot of people angry. Local citizens petitioned the government and in 1890, these trees became protected and the area turned into two National Parks, Kings Canyon and Sequoia.

A park ranger, Meredith, told us that as interpretive staff, we are like the Lorax from the Dr. Seuss book. "We speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues!" By talking about these trees, we spread awareness and ensure that these trees will continue to be protected for many years to come.

So far I’ve had three programs! I’ve also been working on my second program, the Grant Tree Walk. This is a 45 min walk and talk about the Sequoia trees.  Eventually, I will be giving these talks in Spanish for the Spanish speaking visitors which I am very excited about! Stay tuned!

¡Hasta Luego!

Tuesday, 11 June 2019 18:02

Getting to Know Kings Canyon National Park

 

Hello again!

My first day was an adventure to say the least. After checking into my housing, a lightning and thunderstorm hit as I was unpacking my car! As soon as I was safe inside I realized that my roommate went away for the weekend. Totally fine, except there was a sudden *CRACK* *BOOM* and the lights went out. Suddenly I was 200 miles from home in a dark cabin in the woods and completely alone in a thunderstorm. I guess you could say I was a little overwhelmed to learn that I was living out the plot of a horror movie!

Despite the initial fright, I relaxed and found that my new home was beautiful, dynamic, and very alive! I noticed lots of new birds I’ve never seen before and even one deer munching on some grass by the side of the road. My initial panic turned into an awe of the awesomeness of nature! 

My first week has been jam packed with exploring both Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park! The interpretive staff at Kings Canyon NP is very welcoming and helpful so I’m excited to become part of the team. So far, I’ve been doing lots of research about the Sequoia trees in preparation for my first interpretive program this week.

Kings Canyon National Park is located right next to Sequoia National Park! Kings Canyon is about 97% designated wilderness so most of the park isn’t visible unless you go backpacking! The parts that I have seen this week are beautiful. The Sequoia trees are so huge, it’s hard to believe, even with my own eyes! I feel humbled and lucky to be in their presence. There’s also lots of rivers, streams, waterfalls, and cool rock formations. Very excited to get to know this place more and more.

¡Hasta luego!

Thursday, 30 May 2019 00:02

Start of Something New

Hello everyone!

My name is Marisol Morales and I am going to be an Interpretive Intern at Kings Canyon National Park this summer!

I was born and raised in Southern California. Growing up, despite living in a beautiful environment, I didn’t really know much about the “outdoors” except that I liked going to the beach occasionally! It wasn’t until college that I was able to travel, learn, and explore nature in depth. It was then that I realized nature’s beauty and importance.

I recently graduated from University of California, Irvine where I studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While attending classes, I interned with UCI’s Center for Environmental Biology where I was able to work on ecological restoration research and educational outreach programs. In those two short years, I gained extensive knowledge about ecology, research, and education. It made me fall in love with working with nature!

In addition, I took an immersive field course with the UCNRS called California Ecology and Conservation Summer. During this 7 week course, I camped and researched a range of different California ecosystems. Although it was intense, it was incredibly rewarding! I did research on species like plants, deer, sea lions, insects, and intertidal species! This course truly taught me how to be a scientist and to approach the natural world with curiosity.

Back on campus, I joined a club called Hermanas Unidas, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting Latina women in college. By participating in this group, I felt a deeper awareness, appreciation, and connection to my culture. It reinforced my pride in my Latinx cultural identity.

With these experiences in mind, I was drawn to this internship because of the beauty of the forest and the opportunity to connect with the Latinx community at Kings Canyon National Park! I hope to apply my passion for nature while researching and developing interpretative programs and interacting with the public. I will be driving up to the park in a few days and I’m very excited for my work to begin!

¡Hasta la próxima!

Wednesday, 15 May 2019 14:31

Marisol Morales

I am a first generation graduate from University of California, Irvine (UCI) where I majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I was born and raised in beautiful Southern California, which inspired my love for nature at a young age. While in college, I worked as an intern for UCI’s Center for Environmental Biology, where I helped with ecological restoration projects as well as education & outreach programs. I was also part of Hermanas Unidas, a non-profit organization devoted to supporting Latina women in college, which reinforced my love for my culture. I’m passionate about science and education, so I’m very excited to get to work with Kings Canyon National Park as an interpretive intern. I look forward to combining my love of science, education, and nature in order to better reach the Latino community at Kings Canyon National Park!