Blast to the past II, the desert

Hiya everyone! My name is Mario and I’m back. For the next few months, I will be working at Saguaro National Park. That’s just 2,300 miles from where I was this summer with the Latino Heritage Internship Program. If you are interested in reading more about my summer work at First State National Historical Park, click here. This time around I will be with the Saguaro National Park Diversity Conservation Crop (a partnership with the National Park Service), also run by Environment for the Americas. While it’s the second time I have worked in the desert, it will be the first time I will work with the natural resource conservation lenses. The first time I worked in the desert was when I deployed to Iraq, which left a distaste for the desert and sand. Now, you are probably thinking “Why are you working in the desert again guy”. Well, the answer would be I go where the job goes. I was anxious about going back to the sandbox, but I can steadily say Saguaro NP has begun to heal that part of me in the short time I have been here. There are tons of birds, especially hummingbirds (a story for another time), vegetation, and variable topography. I can actually see something that’s not just sand! This week we went on a night hike, and it was wild. We saw a desert tortoise, an elusive mud turtle, an owl, an invasive stalking drone (not cool), and scorpions. Going forward, I’m going out with a UV light, it’s the key to unlocking the secrets of the desert… and not getting poked by something that’s not pleasant. I have a good feeling I’m going to have a much better experience here, pretty stoked to work at Saguaro National Park.

The UV light picked up a scorpion on the side of a rock wall. Looks so cool!

We saw quite a bit during this night hike, like the mud turtle.
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