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August 19, 2008

Mount Rainier

The arrival of summer typically brings change to the peacenick household, and this summer I find myself working on a vegetation survey crew at Mt. Rainier National Park. This particular position is one that I have applied for in numerous years past, so when the offer finally came- I decided I better give it a try.

Some benefits of this position include spending ample time outside and being active, working alongside my other great crew members, honing in my plant ID skills and learning all of the scientific names, getting paid to go backpacking and getting to sleep outside most nights of the week.

So what sort of vegetation survey you may wonder. No, it doesn't have anything to do with vegetables (a common confusion when I misleadingly refer to my job as a "veg survey". Instead, my crew members and I spend our days in the field navigating to certain areas of the park and describing the plant communities that we find at that particular location. Our sampling sites are selected from high resolution aerial photos to be representative of the immediately surrounding areas. Our job this summer is to visit as many sites as possible to create a statistically sound correlation the aerial photos and the plant communities on the ground. Then computer software can be used to make an educated guess of the plant communities found in all of the other areas throughout the park.

Now, some pretty photos....

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