Hello all! My name is Gabriela. I grew up near Salt Lake City in Utah and graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Conservation Restoration Ecology. During my time there, I conducted undergraduate research on how to best utilize the intraspecific genetic diversity of bulrush plants of the Great Salt Lake wetlands to best compete with an incredibly invasive plant called phragmites. Bulrush plants provide critical habitat within the Great Salt Lake wetlands for migratory birds traveling through Utah. My work has always been aligned with migratory birds but had always been more focused on the habitat. I am excited to now explore a new aspect of wetland work with more of an emphasis on the migratory travelers themselves. Cheers to a summer full of gaining perspective and experiences!

Me and the alkali bulrush plants (Bolboscheonus maritimus)
that I did my research on. Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge, ID.

A couple of weeks ago, after a sunny week of training in San Diego, CA, I got a small glimpse of the migration that the shorebirds will make to meet me here in Cordova. I thought of those tiny Western Sandpipers flying over the same water I was admiring from the window of the airplane. During the flight, I found myself daydreaming about how perhaps some of the same birds that we had spent time identifying in San Diego, for the training, may cross my path again in a few weeks. As my mind kept wandering, I gained so much admiration for how those tiny sandpiper wings and bodies are capable of completing the same journey that a huge, man-made, metal object can make and without those hundreds of gallons of fuel.

Me and a couple of the interns learning about shorebird ID in San Diego during the training.

                I am already amazed by these birds and am waiting for their arrival in curious anticipation and gratitude. Next week’s post will be full of photos of them all, I’m sure. Until then!

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