Catching Up On August

Hello everyone, this is Lara, the intern working with Fish and Wildlife Service down in Long Beach, WA at Willapa NWRC. Can you believe the summer has started to come to an end? I know I can’t, it feels like I started last week but here we are at the end of August! I’ve been getting busy with a variety of different taks, and I figured I’d share a few!

cutthroat creek reopening

To kick off August, I got the chance to get involved with the reopening of Cutthroat Creek, a part of the refuge that had been closed off for the last three years. The creek is composed of the Art Walk, a boardwalk filled with art pieces. These pieces were commissioned by local artists, incorporating nature with art. Connected to it is Cutthroat Climb, a trail taking you through the forest just behind the creek. My coworker and I set up various booths for guests to participate and interact with, such as games, crafts, and activities. Mine was making nature collages- by using dried leaves and flowers guests can make a picture in the shape of an animal to take home. After that, there was the barge trip. Eighty guests all squeezed into an oyster barge and went to Long Island to hike the cedar grove trail. I was super excited to get involved with this project because I love art! This was a great way to bridge my love for the arts with my love for nature.

intern swap at willamette

Next, I got to be part of an intern swap down in Willamette Valley. We got to help out at a volunteer event at Ankeny Nature Center (which is where fellow EFTA intern Janet is stationed). We went outside to pull tansy and thistle around the nature center, as well as clean the inside. We all worked hard to sweep, mop, wipe down everything, and reorganize the building. The next day, we ended up at Willamette NWR, where the Fiechter House was open to the public. The Fiechter house is a house built in the mid 1800s that has now been preserved as a piece of history; inside are their old pieces of furniture, household items, clothes, and toys the family members would use. It felt like stepping in a time machine because everything was perfectly preserved. Then, we went to the large barn just down the street from the house, where we got to collect owl pellets. Owls hack up whatever they can’t digest, meaning we got to see tons of bone remains from their prey. Both Ankeny and WIllamette were fantastic, if anyone has the chance to they should asbolutely go visit,

european green crab removal

Finally, the biotechs needed help with checking on traps set all around Leadbetter Point to catch green crabs. European green crabs are incredibly invasive and directly compete with native hairy shore crabs (left picture). We went all across the beach to sloughs of seagrass and mud where the crabs like to hang out to check on the traps. If we found any native shore crabs or sculpins (middle picture), we let them go as bycatch. For green crabs, however, we had to record their numbers, sex, and then stuff them into plastic baggies.; the bags will later be stored in a freezer on the refuge. After emptying all the traps, we stored them away underneath a tarp and headed out for the day. It was so cool getting to see the different marine life in the area, and the beach out there is absolutely gorgeous.

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