My DINOmite Time Cross Training With Juan Pablo

Photo of me in front of North Arch at Arches National Park.

Hi y’all, its been awhile. Well at least a while since I have wrote my blogs. A lot has happened since my last blog post. However for this blog post, it’s going to be about my experience cross training with my fellow LHIP intern Juan Pablo. We had the amazing opportunity to cross train with each other at both of our parks. My trip was first. I was headed to Dinosaur National Monument in Jensen, Utah. The logistics for our trips were done very quickly because we were just coming back from Washington D.C and were trying to coordinate dates since we will both be going on separate river trips in September. Nonetheless we were able to make it happen and I started my drive up to Jensen, UT August 11th. The drive to Dinosaur National Monument from Grand Canyon Village is about 8.5 hrs, and  I made the decision to split my drive into 2 days. My route was taking me through Eastern Arizona, Utah, Western Colorado, and back into Northern Utah. I got to see a lot of beautiful landscapes and views. I stopped in Moab, UT for the night to split the drive in half and I had the amazing opportunity to explore Arches National Park the next morning. I don’t have enough words to tell you how beautiful Arches is, I am still in awe every time I get the chance to explore nature and its beauty. I also realized how fun it is to do solo travel trips, it’s a whole different experience. I finally made it to Dinosaur National Monument on Friday, August 12th. Juan Pablo met me at the visitor center and was very helpful in getting me settled and giving me a tour of his park. He and his supervisor took me out to dinner, which was technically a going away dinner for another intern at Dinosaur, who I had the pleasure of meeting on short notice. They were hosting a Public Monarch Tagging Event on Saturday August 13th, which I had the chance to be apart of. I got to see how Juan Pablo and the rest of the crew worked together to capture Monarchs. I also got to meet his other partners within the agencies of Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service. It was a great networking opportunity and I enjoyed learning more about each of the agencies and what these people were doing. We had a successful Monarch Tagging event with over 30+ captures, and we got to teach the public about monarchs and why we tag them. Throughout the week, Juan Pablo showed me different parts of Dinosaur National Monument and we went to different locations in Utah for Monarch Tagging. My favorite day would have to be when we went to Flaming Gorge Dam in Green River, Utah. We ate some amazing BBQ food from a food truck and did a hike along the river to get footage of pollinators and plants. I overall had an amazing experience up at Dinosaur; learning about DINOSAUARS and seeing fossils, seeing all the prairie dogs, meeting all the park staff, working with Juan Pablo’s supervisors, and just getting to explore Utah.

Me and Juan Pablo with the ALCC Crew, and fellow GRCA intern Nieves.

I made the drive back down August 18th and 19th and arrived back at Grand Canyon for the weekend, which was just in time because Juan Pablo was making his way down to my park. He came down for the week of August 22-26, and it was nice to give him a tour around my park even though sometimes I get lost. (I hope he didn’t realize that I am actually clueless in my sense of direction at this park). I got to show him the multitude of projects that I am working on, like how I am working with monarch butterflies but also doing a lot of vegetation work as well. He had the chance to meet my crew who welcomed him with open arms. For me, I was the most excited to have him come down and work with us because there was finally another intern I could work with, but more specifically someone closer to my age that could get my sense of humor;) Lonnie, Dan, Tara, Jim, and Cam, if you’re reading this, I want to specify that I adore you guys and I am lucky to be apart of your crew, and I am in no way shaming your ages, it’s just that I am the youngest and it shows. Anyhow, we had a lot of activities planned for the week like visiting Gardens in Sedona, touring the Northern Arizona University Greenhouses, tagging Monarchs, collecting seeds, planting in our greenhouse and pollinator gardens, working with Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps, and taking over the LHIP Instagram. Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps were a pleasure to work with and Juan Pablo and I enjoyed capturing and tagging monarch butterflies with them. Although I think we might’ve taught ALCC too well, because they seemed to be better than me at capturing monarchs. Their crew lead Matt captured two in one net. TWO IN ONE NET??!! Can you believe that? I can barely catch one! To be fair, I want to point out that I did do an extraordinary catch, where one was flying toward me and I swung my net without thinking and caught it. You just had to be there, I promise it was a lot cooler than how I just explained it. That’s probably my shining moment from this past week. I had a joyful experience getting to know all these wonderful people, but more importantly getting to work with them. I am so lucky I get to call chasing after butterflies and tagging them as my job.  

This cross training experience is a memory I am grateful to have. I also think its very beneficial for both the interns and their programs to collaborate. I really have to thank all of our lovely supervisors; Lonnie Pilkington, Annie Kilby, Sonya Popelka, and Emily Spencer for collaborating and making these opportunities possible. I also want to thank Juan Pablo for being an awesome colleague to work with, as well as a friend. I learned so much while being up at Dinosaur National Monument thanks to him, and I hope I did the same for him here at Grand Canyon National Park.

Until next time.

Your friend,

Cassandra Cavezza

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