Of Programs, Pollinators, and Phenology: First Assignments

Here in Shenandoah, all the interns are treated the same as the full-time rangers. This means we have access to the same resources and have the same duties and authority! Interns are even required to develop and lead three different park programs; nerve-racking, but also exciting!

Right now I have two programs I am working on! The first will be focusing on an animal that lives in that park, and since I love insects I decided to focus on pollinators. Since a lot of people already know common pollinators, like honey bees and butterflies, I have decided to talk about some lesser known pollinators like the green sweat bee, hummingbird moth, and soldier beetles. Though these species aren’t specific to Shenandoah, they help our flowers bloom and are important members of our ecosystems. This will be a 30-minute program that normally attracts a lot of people, since it takes place in front of the Visitor Center. 

The other program I am working on is a little more difficult; it focuses on citizen science. This program was developed by a different ranger, but since I have a background in research they are allowing me to take it over for part of the summer. This program is 1.5 hours, and involves helping visitors learn about the importance of data collection and citizen scientists. Citizen scientists are regular people who help collect data scientists can use, and there are lots of different programs, from bird watching to water quality collection. For my program, we will record data on some of the trees here in Shenandoah. Afterwards, this information will be submitted online to the National Phenology Network, so scientists can see if trees are budding and leafing out earlier or later than normal.

Eventually I will have a third program that will be a guided hike somewhere in the park, but this won’t be until later in the season. I am excited to start these programs and I hope my background and skills in biology and data collection will be of service here!

—Reena

 

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