As I wrap up the last week of my internship, I have been reflecting on the last seven months at rare, and wow they have flown by! I was fortunate enough to spend this field season monitoring butterflies, snakes, salamanders, forest health and humus decay. Each time I wrapped up one segment of monitoring, I was both a little bit sad to be finished and also excited to move on the next monitoring project. It is kind of like finishing a really good book in a series, but knowing there is another really great adventure waiting in the next!
When people ask me about my job, and I tell them, I always feel so fortunate to be able to speak with such enthusiasm about what I do. When my friends and family ask me what I had been up to during the week, I get to tell them “counted and identified hundreds of butterflies,” or “found a snake under a salamander board” (uh oh), or “ hugged trees all day,” the last of which translates to taking diameter measurements, but I see it as the same thing. I never knew what I would find when I went out and I was thrilled by the wildlife I encountered on a daily basis in addition to what I was monitoring.
One of my favourite parts of working at rare was observing the family of ospreys that used one of the platforms at rare for their nest. I loved seeing the osprey parents hunting over the river and hearing the osprey chicks call to their parents. I was so excited the first day that I could see one of the chicks from where I was walking, and then when they started to fly. The last time I saw an osprey this year was in late October, when staff was out for a hike. Due to my newfound love for the beautiful creatures, I am already looking forward to when they come back next year. I will certainly be back to visit them!
As I look forward to the next steps in my career, I am thankful for the time I have spent at rare, exploring the land and expanding my knowledge base of all that lives there. In addition to the time spent outside monitoring, I have been able to expand my skill set in a variety of areas that will help me in my future career endeavours, and work with enthusiastic and passionate staff members and volunteers towards such a fantastic cause. Although it is goodbye to rare for now, I can’t wait to see what is next in the series!
By: Allie Abram, rare’s Ecological Monitoring Intern
Thanks to Natural Resources Canada Science and Technology Internship Program and Cambridge & North Dumfries Community Foundation for supporting ecological monitoring at rare in 2016.