Hi! My name is, who? My name is, what?

My name is wicka wicka, Alex Brito (pronounced like Frito with a “B,” or you can just call me Burrito like I know you want to…most people do anyways!). Greetings, readers! This is the first of my blog entries for my summer internship as a Cascades Butterfly Biologist with the National Park Service at North Cascades National Park in Northern Washington. Before I get into the nitty gritty of who I am and why I’m excited about this internship, I’d like to thank Environment for the Americas and the Latino Heritage Internship Program for this wonderful opportunity. I’d also like to thank my family and friends who have supported me financially and emotionally during this crazy hectic transition time of my life, because without all of you this honestly would not have been possible.   I’ll start with the basics about me and my reasons for taking advantage of this seemingly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; your basic who, what, why, where, and when. Those who know me are aware of my adventurous spirit and my affinity for the great outdoors. Ever since I can remember, I have loved being outside and exploring the world around me; from collecting “cool” bugs and rocks to building terrariums to house frogs and salamanders to frolicking in the forest foraging for fungi, I always did (and still do!) find that I am happiest when immersed in the natural world. As a freshman in college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, enrolled in pre-pharmacy school, it was becoming more and more clear to me that I didn’t want to be stuck in a small room or cubicle for the rest of my life, and that I needed to pursue a profession which would allow me to work in and explore the natural world. Fast-forward ten years, and this pre-pharmacy student has a B.S. in Zoology and Environmental Studies, and a M.S. in Forestry.   As a result of my experiences as a student, tasked with learning about and researching the natural world, and my experiences as an educator, tasked with getting others excited about learning about the natural world as a teaching assistant while in grad school, I have decided to pursue opportunities that may lead to a long-term career position which is centered on environmental stewardship, scientific education, and community outreach. This drive has led me here, to Marblemount, Washington, where I will be a Cascades Butterfly Biologist intern for the Summer of 2017. As far as I understand it, my job will entail working with citizen scientists to conduct surveys of butterfly populations at several field sites throughout North Cascades National Park. I’m excited for many aspects of the position (I mean, catching butterflies in the mountains for the summer sounds like a fake dream job in and of itself), but I am particularly thrilled about interacting with community members and having the opportunity to get people excited about nature and the scientific methods and ideologies integral to conducting biological research and monitoring wildlife populations. My first day on the job will be next Monday, June 26th, and I am super excited to arrive to my site and begin my summer escapades. Adventures from my road trip and week one on the job will be coming next week. I hope you tune in, and thanks for listening! Here I am, at home in Wisconsin, ready for my road trip. Washington, here I come!

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