Our Doris Duke Conservation Scholars are taking part in conservation internships all over the US this summer. They are guest blogging about their experiences here at L-C-Ideas to keep us up to speed on what they’re doing. Please check back for more!
DDCSP Interns at Conservation Science Partners
By Ari and Allison
“Welcome to the Biggest Little City!” it says in big letters at the Reno Airport, the digital billboards nearby showing off the beautiful sights and edible delights of the Tahoe region. Brett and Christine picked us up in an old covered truck, the two of us squeezing into the backseat. After a (not so) quick stop at Trader Joe’s, we had enough food to feed an army, and we finally set forth for Truckee.
We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw our house. (Seriously, if anyone can visit for a weekend, there’s plenty of space!) Our neighbor, Coco, has been an amazing tour guide and friend, and he’s showed us many of the fun spots around town. We are writing this blog following a weekly summer street fair called Truckee Thursdays, where local businesses, artists, musicians, and more sell their wares in Downtown Truckee, which is just a 10-15 minute walk away. The food is amazing!
Each day seems more beautiful than the one before it and the air a little fresher. The slower pace of life in Truckee is a welcome change from Los Angeles and New York. The Truckee River runs its course just a few yards from our house. We are nestled right alongside the Truckee Regional Park, which has a Frisbee golf course, music amphitheater, Skate Park, and even a farmers’ market on Tuesday mornings. There is a culture of healthy living up here, with many runners, bikers, hikers, etc, and abundant local and regional food.
Conservation Science Partners is a relatively small office. It feels almost familial, with its open space and positive attitudes. There is a spirit of cooperation in the office, and there is very little that gets done “just because my boss said so.” The first week was extremely busy: several staff members came to visit from out of town, and Brett had a meeting with the board. There were many staff development meetings – we were spared from most of these. Now that we are finishing our second week, we are finally becoming more integrated and comfortable in the office, and our roles are becoming more clear.
Ari is working on three main projects. The Gateway Project is an environmental education project that CSP has undertaken in an attempt to become more integrated in the community. By our second day at the office, Ari and Nicole (one of our coworkers) were giving a presentation to a group of high schoolers in a summer-camp-esque lodge. Another project he is working on is with the American Farmland Trust, creating an online, interactive map that will contain information on all things spatial and agricultural: quantity of land in agricultural use, type of agriculture, productivity per acre, water usage, acreage that has been lost to urbanization – and lots more. This will probably be the most GIS-intensive project Ari is working on this summer, and he’s excited! GLUED, the third, we will be working on together – see below
One of Allison’s main projects at CSP this summer will involve working with Erica Fleishman, a researcher at the John Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California, Davis to spatially analyze over thirteen years of data regarding invasive cheatgrass in The Great Basin of Nevada. Allison will be conducting fieldwork in The Great Basin with Erica during the last week of June and again for a week in July.
Allison and Ari are both working on the Global Land Use Emergent Database, or GLUED. This is a project that David Theobald has been planning for years, and the technology has finally caught up and made it possible. We are using Google Earth to create a database with all kinds of remote sensing data about land cover and land use all over the planet. This project has the potential to become an international, open-source collaboration of open-access data, which could be immensely useful to researchers all over the planet and across the spectrum of environmental science.
We hope you all are having as much fun as we are! We out.
~ Ari and Allison