Get Away From Me, August

Hello all, Today is the last day of my internship at the Intermountain Regional office. Ugh. No. Why. Last week, I worked on tying up loose ends on a few projects.  Most of the projects gave me an opportunity to work on my writing skills.  As a biology major, it has been a while since I really focused on the style and structure of my writing, but throughout the editing process I have been able to express my thoughts more clearly. I want to reemphasize how much value I have found in working on projects with other people. I have help from both my supervisor and experts from other departments whenever I draft something and I always have an “Ohhhhhhhhh, thaaaaaat’s how you do that,” moment. The projects I worked on included gathering some information about Latino outreach opportunities, drafting a summary of the Westwood event I did for an internal newsletter, updating the legislative tracking sheet, drafting a controlled correspondence letter and visiting fellow intern, Kevin Jauregui, at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Don’t worry, I don’t take myself too seriously with my fancy sounding tasks. On Friday, I traveled south into the front range to meet up with Kevin at Florissant Fossil Beds.  I got to see him run a geology/paleontology camp for a group of really bright kids.  We also went and looked for a few fossils at a privately owned quarry nearby.  After the camp I was able to get a closer look at the park and the massive, petrified redwood stumps amazed me. Florissant Fossil Beds is a smaller, more intimate park where visitors can enjoy more of the details in the ecosystem there.  The prairie and forest are calm, quiet and beautiful. Until a storm comes. At an elevation of 8,000 feet thunder cracks and sounds like a bomb going off.  I could see the lines of lighting more clearly than ever and it was thrilling. I was also really impressed with Kevin when he gave an impromptu tour of the nearby homestead of Adeline Hornbeck to some curious visitors.  Adeline Hornbeck is a boss lady from the 1800’s who was a cornerstone of the Florissant community hosting events, hiring workers, and participating on the local school board.  Her homestead has been preserved and it is set in a valley near a creek in the prairie just down the road from the fossil beds. I am so thankful that I was able to do both the Rocky Mountain and Florissant Fossil Beds site visits because they gave me a lot of insight about the challenges each park faces, the opportunities they provide, scientific studies being conducted in the area and the history of each park. I hope to continue to visit more parks in the coming years to get a better perspective on the broad range of lands that the NPS protects for the American people. As I drove back to Lakewood this weekend it occurred to me that it would be the last drive through the mountains this summer. I started staring out the window like I was in some movie with dramatic music on and then the rumble strip snapped me back to reality. Oops. Anyways, it was quite the finale for a full summer.  Although I am grumbly about having to leave, I really feel a sense of peace about the next few weeks ahead of me and going back to school because I made the most of my time here. Also, hallelujah, thank you Jesus, for some direction in my career goals. I entered the summer set on pursuing urban planning in grad school and I still have an interest in planning, but now I want to stick more closely the biology field and have a strong interest in being employed by the National Park Service.              

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