When the rain started pouring down, I didn’t make any move to find cover. We had just returned from a sweltering, dusty, who-knows-how-many-miles-long hike through the Sierra Nevada mountains, so the brisk thunderstorm was a welcome surprise.
Our intern cohort (plus several advisors) had scaled slopes through a charred forest in search of the vast meadows we knew to be at just a slightly higher elevation. The forest had undergone a controlled burn in an attempt to protect and restore biodiversity—as fire clears long-dead organic matter, it creates room for new life to recycle those materials into their own success. As the burn flickers on, the older, larger trees continue thriving and supporting other life, from their roots to their canopies.Continue reading
I grew up in Northern California, a key home to some of our planet’s largest organisms– redwood trees. My family would frequently make the trek to Yosemite to visit the old growth forests of giant sequoias. My cousins and I traced trails through the base of Mount Tam in San Francisco in search of the tallest possible trees. When I learned to drive, my friends and I would often take to Highway 1 during long weekends, winding up in the midst of hundreds of coast redwoods. Continue reading
From the minute I set foot outside, my eyes are blinded by the harsh glare of the sun. I have no choice but to squint as I stagger forward, though I am able to fully open my eyes once more after they adjust. Continue reading
When I was little, I was absolutely convinced that I was a very serious, very legitimate explorer of wilderness.
My friends and I would gather up our food, water, binoculars, and notebooks and head out to the backyard, where we would set up camp in the play structure. There, we would have very serious and legitimate conversations about very serious and legitimate things like bird count, caterpillar food, and bunny races. Very serious and legitimate.
We would stay out there for hours at a time- as long as we possibly could before our parents called us in for dinner. Some days, we would even be able to go for a walk in a nearby park instead of just sticking around in the backyard.
Those are some of my best memories with my friends. The idea of exploring nature absolutely fascinated us, and it’s probably one of the reasons I love science so much today.