Five University of California undergraduates got to live and work at Point Reyes National Seashore this summer thanks to a new internship program developed by the UC Natural Reserve System and the National Park Service. The students served as interns in range management/vegetation ecology, archaeology, dune restoration and rare plants, and wildlife ecology.
"The students get what I think is excellent training, excellent real-world experience managing landscapes and doing science out in the field. And we get the benefit of these great new students who have just been educated in the latest techniques and theories of the fields they're working in," says Ben Becker, chief scientist for Point Reyes National Seashore.
The program builds on the deep relationship between Point Reyes National Seashore and the University of California. Dozens of UC scientists conduct research projects in the park. And this past year, UC Berkeley has established Point Reyes Field Station in the park's southern district as a proposed new NRS reserve.
"We rely really heavily on UC and the NRS to help bring scientists out to study the parks and help understand what we need to do to preserve them," Becker says.
This year's NRS-Point Reyes National Seashore interns talked about their experiences working in the park, the field skills they've acquired, and how their internships have shaped their plans for the future. The interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Diana Tataru, UC Santa Cruz
range management/vegetation ecology
Michael Spaeth, UC Merced
dune restoration and rare plants