Jhonny and I have been preparing to give presentations for most of April. We researched for hours; reading scientific paper after scientific paper. We formatted our presentations and then we presented to Forest Service Staff, to our supervisors, our roommates, and anyone else who would listen to us. After receiving feedback, we reformatted and fine-tuned our presentations.
Finally, this Thursday, we spoke to the students taking Environmental Science at South Eugene High School. I hadn’t been inside a high school in years, the halls felt small and crowded. Teenagers looked at us with some interest, but were mostly interested in talking with their friends and making it to class on time, and checking their phones. As we walked in the classroom, there were murmurs of interest and excited smiles. One student even whispered “they’re in the Forest Service,” after seeing our uniform, “that’s so cool!” Right away, any nerves I had were gone. They were actually interested!
I spoke with them about the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, and about the unnatural vegetation shifts due to invasive plants. They had incredibly intelligent questions, and expressed interest in the restoration projects in the area. Jhonny spoke with them about shorebirds and western snowy plovers. Overall, I think the students enjoyed the presentation (and the stickers we brought). I hope they go on to pursue careers in this field.