12 Jul As time goes by
When I look back to this past month and a half, I find myself admiring my hard work. Since I left home and arrived at my site, I have been gaining nothing but knowledge. When I found out that I was selected for my current position, I felt mixed emotions. Leaving home for almost three months sounded terrifying, but at the same time, I was eager to explore new opportunities. Working with the National Park Service has made me feel proud of myself. As I always say, being part of such an inclusive organization inspires me to portray the community I represent.
Along my path, I have met influential people that have been key to my project’s development. The maintenance, interpretation, law enforcement, and natural resource management divisions have helped and guided me through my duties as an intern. My mentor and supervisor, Alex Vindas Cruz, has done nothing but encourage me in the creation of my project. He has taught me to be independent and has let me make critical decisions for the progress of my investigation.
It is the first time my park is working with the invasive species Spotted Lanternfly (SLF). For that reason, I had to start my project from zero. At first, I conducted research and created an annotated bibliography to have references for any time I needed scientific support. Then, I developed a methodology and selected the tree species I wanted to put traps in, including the Tree-of-heaven (TOH), also an invasive species. As of today, my project has created a solid baseline to conduct investigations with both SLF and TOH.
Being a scientist in a national park is not an easy job. But, with the correct help and support, I have been able to perform strategic analysis, critical thinking, and action plans to create a project that will be key for future investigations at the park. As time goes by, I’m wrapping up my project full of valuable knowledge that will be of great use for my future as a professional.