Spontaneous Experiences in Nature

Greeting from Point Reyes National Seashore! My first week of work is officially over and it went by like a breeze. Every day was vastly different and if I were to sit here and write about everything I did, it would take many pages and too many cups of coffee! Therefore, I will write about only the highlights of the week. The first couple of days were a huge welcoming experience. I met many NPS employees from different divisions as well as the superintendent, Cicely Muldoon, who is very excited to have me on board. The atmosphere at Point Reyes is very relaxed and friendly, and I felt welcomed right away. To familiarize myself with the park, my supervisor allowed me to walk through a few trails around the Bear Valley Visitor’s Center. The walk I enjoyed the most was to a Coast Miwak village called “Kule Lokle” (it’s even fun to pronounce!). I also attended a very popular tour through the Earthquake Trail that educates visitors about the unique geology of the Point Reyes peninsula and about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which displaced Point Reyes 25! Another fun activity I was involved in was helping the park’s botanists collect native grass seeds for a restoration project. I would have never imagined how relaxing seed collecting could be; the botanist calls it, “the Zen of seed collecting.” A major highlight of the week occurred yesterday while I was having lunch outside by the shore. While we were enjoying our lunch, an employee of the Marine Mammal conservation center showed up and informed us that a few young elephant seals were about to be released into the wild! The Marine Mammal Conservation Center had taken these young seals from Point Reyes because they were found very sick and would not survive on their own. After the seals were healthy enough the center set out to return them back to their natural environment. My colleagues and I were so excited to witness this. We watched four young young, adorable elephant seals slide from the back of a pickup truck and onto the shore. They seemed very shy at first, but nevertheless, eager to get back into the cold, aqua waters of Point Reyes. This shows the great work NPS and other conservation groups set out to do on their mission of restoring and protecting the environment. I also attended a meeting with my manager that served to cover what the Point Reyes interpretation/education division does. Our division is responsible of educating the public, ensuring that the visitors have a fulfilled day at the park, and encouraging environmental stewardship! These duties entail many different things and the park rangers are always brainstorming and carrying out different programs, events, and ways to get more people involved. At the end of the meeting my colleague, Park Ranger Anella, asked us say out loud three words that described our day. My words were: spontaneous, experiencing, educational.

(Studying like if I was back in school!)IMG_9701(Deciphering grass types!)

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