Deep in thought along the Cascade Head Trail
With two months left in the internship I decided to reflect about my experiences so far. Coming to Oregon I had no expectations of anything because I believe that in order to gain the most out of any new adventure, you should always go in with an open mind. Because of this mindset I’ve gained more than just professional skills; I’ve gained an appreciation of the special places and people I’ve met along the way. This is exactly what has happened in the time I’ve been in Oregon.
As I walked down a trail at the Cascade Head Scenic Research Area, I continued to be amazed at the amount of biodiversity. I was amazed at the number of flowering plants and the towering Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock trees that provide an amazing canopy cover and habitat for small mammals and birds. Walking down the trail I thought about how much I had learned in the past three months. I thought about how for the first time I gave a presentation to over 120 students, and how happy I was when I was talking to public about world migratory bird day, or the fact that I saw snowy plover eggs for the first time in my life when doing snowy plover detection surveys. However, walking down such a beautiful trail made me realize two important things. One; there is still so much I do not know about the fauna, flora, landscape, etc. of the Siuslaw National Forest and the Oregon Coast in general and two; I want my career to revolve around protecting such beautiful places and to help people understand why as humans we depend on natural areas like these. Personally, I am interested in learning more about the natural and cultural history of the Oregon Coast.
The reason why I hiked this trail was to get to the prairie headlands and set up surveying stations to do Black Oystercatcher abundance surveys. I had already fallen in love with the beautiful beaches and forests of the Siuslaw, but the grassy meadows of Cascade Head were something else. The meadows provide an entirely different habitat for pollinators, herpetofauna, and birds of all kinds. Overall, in searching for new adventures and experiences I stumbled upon such an incredible place to call home for a couple of months and I couldn’t be happier that I ended up in Oregon.