28 Feb Work from Home in Coconino National Forest
My position as a Science Communication Specialist Resource Assistant with USFS is virtual. The station I work for is located in Colorado; however, like approximately 26% of employed Americans, I work from home. Flagstaff, AZ is currently home for me, although I’ve only been living here for about half a year. I will spare you the details of my apartment: the landlord-white walls, the kitchen drawers held together by painted-over duck tape, the front door that fervently resists locking properly. In the spirit of working with USFS, I would like to expand my interpretation of “field site” to include Coconino National Forest, which surrounds Flagstaff in all directions.
Coconino National Forest is, quite literally, in my backyard – there is a National Forest boundary sign ten feet from my door. In the weeks I’ve been working as a Resource Assistant, I’ve discovered that Coconino National Forest is one of the most diverse National Forests in the country. The elevation of Coconino National Forest ranges from 3,500 to 12,644 feet and encompasses a myriad of landscapes and natural communities. Ponderosa pine forests weave through Flagstaff. A hike up Humphreys Peak, the highest mountain in Arizona, reveals stands of aspen that ultimately yield to alpine tundra. Sycamore, maple, and other hardwood species thrive in the aptly-named Oak Creek Canyon, which eventually gives way to the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Red Rock District.
In the time I’ve been living in Flagstaff, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend many days exploring Coconino National Forest. Hikes through the San Francisco Peaks, climbs up Sedona’s red-rock towers – almost the adventures I’ve had in northern Arizona have happened within the bounds of Coconino. My short time as a Resource Assistant has only deepened my appreciation for the incredible landscape that surrounds me, and I’m excited to continue exploring this wonderful forest.