Another update from Aransas National Wildlife Refuge! The past few months since my first blog post has been busy. Starting with the beginning of this month (May) we wrapped up Phase 1 and transitioned into Phase 2 which is our initial vulnerability and risk assessment. We were also able to meet in person from May 1st-May 6th at Big Oaks NWR and stayed in Madison, Indiana for the week.
Not only did I get to meet the other fellows for the first time, but I was also able to fly commercially for the first time which was a whole other experience on its own. It was a great and fun experience overall though and I learned a lot from others who have been working in the refuge system for a long time. I also learned a lot about what the expectations are for us in this phase which will be until about the end of August. It has been a busy few weeks since I got back to the Texas Gulf Coast from reviewing literature on vulnerability assessments as well as viewing the best possible vulnerability tools for this assessment. Since I got back, I have been able to go out to Matagorda Island and drive along the beach from the North to South end. I received my UTV certification with the Fish & Wildlife Service and took two Texas A&M university researchers and an employee of General Land Office (GLO) to collect samples for a survey they are conducting on petroleum along the entire Gulf Coast. I was also there to survey the beach for stranded sea turtles where I documented the species, length, and general age of the turtle. The number of sea turtles that I found was reported back to Ecological Services and will be kept on record to help determine why these sea turtles are not making it all the way onto shore. I am excited to see what the next few months will be like for me as I go on in the fellowship and hopefully, I can meet the fellows in person again down the road!
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: Civilian Climate Corps Program (CCC)
Location: Aransas NWR