Goodbye for now — Alisa Hernandez

Although this is the last day of my internship, and the summer is coming to a close, I am not sad. Instead, I am excited about the future. I have learned so much about being a scientist and a steward of our lands. I have learned that so much goes into protecting and understanding the wildlife that thrives within the parks. This experience has encouraged me to continue my pursuit of conservation through science.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been lucky enough to catch some elusive snakes during my final field survey, participate in the career and leadership workshop to share my findings, and speak about my work with federal and local stakeholders. The opportunities I’ve had the chance to work on and the people I have met have allowed me to see all different aspects of this kind of work.

I spent my final field experience for the summer after some rare summer precipitation hiking through the park. Although we didn’t find many lizards this time around, we were fortunate to encounter three snakes! Snakes of any species found within the park are rare in any pitfall survey due to the low numbers of predator populations and their generally elusive habits. Each time we caught a snake, I was so excited, and this is a highlight of my internship experience!

Alisa holding a young California kingsnake that had been caught in one of the pitfall traps overnight.

Having the chance to share my work with a great diversity of people has been a fantastic experience! I enjoyed educating others from different backgrounds about the different kinds of reptiles found in the park, their relationship with the climate around them, and what people can do to manage their interactions and impacts in a changing global climate. Sharing my work has helped make me feel that my work will make a difference for these organisms, and I am excited to get into a career where I can continue to do so!

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