Now that we are nearing the end of our program, I thought I’d share some of the things we have been working on this summer. Our main project that we have been working on is invasive species removal of bullhead catfish and bullfrogs. One thing we did not expect is the amount of bullhead catfish we would be removing. During the first few months of the program it was rare to catch anything over a thousand fish. Later in the year however we starting catching 30-40 thousand fish consistently. In this year alone we have more than doubled the amount of fish that have been removed over the last three years. At times this process has been difficult but we have learned some things along the way and I think we are making progress.
Fortunately we get a variety of projects and aren’t always working with fish. Throughout the program we have done everything from working with school groups to doing endangered plant plot surveys. Recently we have had the opportunity to work with greater Sandhill cranes, fly drones, and repair fences. I have enjoyed most of the projects that we have worked on and after this experience I feel like I can do almost any fieldwork.
It has also been nice just living on the refuge. It is a beautiful place to be, and I feel much more connected with the environment and wildlife around me. It’s going to be strange when I move and don’t see a herd of elk almost every week. I am also looking forward to seeing the leaves on the trees change color for the fall season.
Overall this is a great place to work. The people I work with are always kind, supportive, and are working hard to make this a valuable experience. I have definitely learned a great deal, and I am so grateful to everyone who has made this opportunity possible.