19 Jul The Best of Rocky
Now that the summer is coming to a close, I have been reminiscing over the beginning of the summer and looking forward to the rest of the season. Being a part of this internship program has introduced me to wonderful friends and coworkers. My favorite part of the Fish and Feathers program has been the people, the visitors, and those I work with. Meeting visitors who have traveled to visit the park has been a highlight. While we come from different parts of the country and world, the park brings us together through a shared love and appreciation of nature. It is especially fun to be working with some of the younger visitors and seeing their excitement about being outdoors. Access to National Parks and spending quality time in nature is so important. It’s how I grew in my love for the environment.
Some of my favorite people I have met have been my roommates at the Blister Rust dorm. (Blister Rust is a fungus that infects plants, and the house we are in used to be a research facility for this fungus.) We are all interns in the park in different departments. After work, we will hang out in the kitchen and living room, chatting, watching movies, and cooking. We will also hike together on weekends and explore Rocky, Estes Park, and surrounding cities in Colorado. I love connecting with people who share similar interests and working in the park with me. They have been my favorite part about being here in Colorado this summer.
One of my coworkers, Ranger Marley, and I went to do a rove at Lily Lake. A rove is where we go to a park with a popup program or walk around, interact with visitors, and enjoy nature. Wildflowers were blooming, and we got to discuss ideas for programs in the future. A moose was strolling in the lake, and we helped guide visitors to a safe viewing distance. I also got to see my first muskrat! As we can see in the video on the right, they were gathering grasses and swimming back to their home.
Blister Rust went to Rock Cut on the alpine tundra to watch the sunset together. It was a good bonding time, and we saw some alpine animals like elk, marmots, and pika. Since the sun was setting, it was also colder up there than in the montane and lower-elevation ecosystems.
On Mondays, Simon and I go to the YMCA of the Rockies to assist Scott Rashid with bird banding. Scott engages with the public through a bird banding program. He shares his knowledge of birds and projects that he participates in. He is very good at giving hands-on experience to the people and letting them hold the birds while still keeping them safe for everyone, including the birds. I love bringing other people to gain this experience as well. To the left, Jackson is holding a Broad-Tailed Hummingbird.
Rocky Mountain National Park will always hold a special place in my heart, but the people especially will!