Facets of a Field


What do you think of when you hear the term conservation? Admittedly the first things that jumps to my mind are trail work and invasive species removal because that’s all I’ve known for so many years. Despite how exhausted I might’ve been at the end of day one or the end of a hitch 24-days later, I loved (and still do) every single second of it.

However I needed to know for certain that this was the route that I’ll continue, at least until my body decides that enough is enough. I’m guilty of being a little reckless and maybe a little bit of a hero when it comes to manual labor. These are some reasons on why I decided to give another side of conservation a shot. These are things that I never thought about but knew was part of the conservation mission.

C’mon oystercatcher…

A lot of SNEP’s work is surveying; whether it be by canoe, foot, from afar via binoculars, or another method. Up close we might be looking for galerucella beetles to see if they’re effective against an invasive known as purple loosestrife. Meanwhile a radio form of telemetry is used to keep track of New England Cottontails (NEC), a threatened rabbit species released on Patience Island. NEC are a major part of our program and we’ve recently begun forays into the island to do vegetation surveys which consists of a tedious and methodical process.

Telemetry work and New England Cottontails transporting

Much of our work revolves around birds- specifically the previously mentioned American oystercatchers, terns (common, least, Roseate, etc.), and piping plovers to name a few. Oftentimes we would work with the refuge piping clover crews when they needed an extra pair of hands.

A distracting plover parent, an exclosure, and a fresh nest.

I’m in my tenth week of the internship and sometimes I find myself forgetting that yes, rather than hiking several miles I’m walking a few on the beach and it’s still part of conservation work. That’s looking for chicks of various species and keeping an eye on them to see if they’ve fledged as well as to make sure humans aren’t hassling them. That’s putting up exclosures to keep out predators. That’s trying to figure out the effects of rising sea levels and the change in temperature. There’s much that goes into conserving, protecting, and enhancing the native flora and fauna which is so incredibly important. At least this work can easily be linked to the familiar trail work that I love so much. Everything in the conservation world is connected despite the differences in work.

Some things don’t change though…

Luckily these little guys are just dog ticks and at the time of this blog post I’m still Lyme’s free. Thank goodness for Permethrin.