Invasive plant removal at one of our most spectacular parks
I wake up every day and walk outside into a postcard. Kenai Fjords National Park is one of the most spectacular natural places I have ever seen.
I graduated in December from San Diego State University and I was positive that an intern position through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) was my next step in my journey. After many applications, a couple interviews, and a series of plane flights, I now find myself at my desk in the resource management division of Kenai Fjords National Park (and I couldn’t be more ecstatic). I am a team member of the Exotic Plant Management Team (EPMT) here at Kenai Fjords and I have already been provided with countless opportunities for field experience and career growth. In a typical day, there is a lot to get through, so we get to work first thing in the morning.
8:00AM: I arrive at the National Park Headquarters and immediately start packing my backpack for the day ahead. GPS? Dandelion digger? Bear Spray? Camera? Check. I meet with my supervisors and go over our plan for the day so that we work as efficiently as possible. Meanwhile, the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) members, Elena Hamner and Megan Koster, are working to gather their necessary items for a fun day in the field.
8:30AM: The drive to Exit Glacier displays more beauty in ten minutes than most people get to see in a year. We go over “Five Minutes of Safety,” making sure we know the risks at hand, depending on the work load for the day. Usually we get a karaoke demonstration from one of the YCC’s when our radio reception fades out. About 15 minutes later, we arrive at the Exit Glacier parking lot.
9:00AM: We head to the perimeter of the parking lot to map and eradicate dandelions (Taraxacum officinale). My crew leader, Aaron Stover, and I map these invasive species on our Trimble GPS units; The YCC’s begin to dig up the dandelions to help eradicate this invasive species. We go about this pattern for about 3 hours, all the while basking in the glory that is Exit Glacier. Talk about an office with a view.