Here are several photos and a slideshow that tell the story of my summer as an SCA/USFWS 2010 Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Resource Management Intern. Please click on "show info" in the slideshow, upper right, to read my extended captions.You will need to click on the "full screen" icon, lower right, to access this function.
An ecosystem I find beautiful is the salt marsh. The fragility and unpredictable future of salt marshes struck me as a subject that requires more research towards their preservation. I had the opportunity to conduct Salt Marsh Surface Elevation Table surveys with Land Management Research Demonstration (LMRD) Coastal Biologist Sue Adamowicz and Refuge Biologist, Kate O'Brien. We measured how the marsh changed in relation to sea level rise by cutting out wedges of the salt marsh and measuring the feldspar layer that was inserted in certain areas of the marsh in the past. We measured how deep the feldspar layer had sunken in relation to the other layers of soil.
The best part is that I have fallen in love here…with Maine! The trees, shrubs, wildlife, birds, air, ocean spray, everything! It has soaked into my being and it fills me with sadness to be leaving so soon, after approximately 11 weeks of claiming Maine as my new home. I have learned that whenever I live, learn, and breathe the life and culture of a different place, in this case Maine, I become a different person. I become more observant, more aware, more educated, and more appreciative of the world around me. These feelings further solidify my commitment to protecting beautiful places such as the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. As the Refuge Manager Ward Feurt said, “This is a special place”.
And I realized that statement while I was walking through the forest on Hog Island. It filled me with such a feeling that I can only describe as a sense of wonder. Now I know why Rachel Carson fell in love with the waters and the lands here in Maine. These are the precious resources that conservationists like us strive to protect and are willing to fight for – for ourselves, the future, and to benefit the continuity of the ecosystem.
Besides the refuge, another thing I will miss about Maine is that I have never been in a place where wild fruit is so abundant everywhere you go! I would be walking down a road and my co-workers would start eating things off the bushes or trees. I soon found out that they were eating wild raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, rosehips, and apples. And the wild varieties taste AMAZING! I love living off the land!
And it is these moments in nature that savor the most - picking berries off of random bushes, carefully handling a garter snake, having a monarch butterfly take a breather on my arm, befriending a lightning bug, and other soulful moments that make me take a deep breath in to take in all my surroundings and release the air with a sigh of contentment at my oneness with nature.
Please click on "show info" in the slideshow, upper right, to read my extended captions.You will need to click on the "full screen" icon, lower right, to access this function.