Our second cohort of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program is taking part in a conservation summer immersion program on the Colorado Plateau, and they are guest blogging here at L-C-Ideas to keep us up to speed on what they’re doing. Please check back for more!
Day 25: Immersion Program Final Projects; next up: Internships!
By Imani and Kyra
Today was the last day of the summer immersion program; wow how it’s flown by! We’ve been all over the Colorado Plateau and will now be embarking on our internships across the Southwest. This morning we presented our final projects. The first group presented on habitat fragmentation and wildlife corridors by playing a mule deer simulation game. Students were given ears to be mule deer and a few played the roles of a hunter, a private landowner, a researcher, and a ranger to demonstrate the arbitrary political boundaries which affect wildlife and the habitat fragmentation that results. Next up was the biodiversity group. They conducted a mock public forum and presented on bison in Grand Canyon National Park and how the bison are trampling habitats and thereby reducing biodiversity. After, the endangered species group presented on the California condor, humpback chub, and willow flycatcher. They presented different management plans to help the species and the whole cohort broke into groups to debate which management plan would work best. The last group presented on invasive species and the controversial Glen Canyon Dam. They hosted a mock-debate where the rest of the cohort could ask questions and receive answers from stakeholders such as the Sierra Club and the Arizona Game and Fish service.
That night, we had the opportunity to tour Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. This mansion was home to two Riordan brothers and their individual families. We learned about the Riordan’s role and involvement in the early establishment of Flagstaff as a territorial logging town. The mansion was built in the architectural style known as Arts and Crafts and has been kept in (mostly) pristine condition since the end of its construction in 1904. After touring the mansion and its grounds, we gathered in the visitor center for a group dinner where we bid DC, one of the staff members, farewell. Over dinner we talked about our excitement for our upcoming internships as well as about some of our memories from the past four weeks. After dinner, we sat in a circle and each shared something we would take away from the immersion part of the program as well as some of the adverse situations we had to overcome during that time. Overall, the night was spent in good company before we all leave to our various internships.