Friday, January 15, 2010

The mountains are calling and I must go...

I accepted a position as a supervisory biologist with the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP) in the Sierras--I'll be leading a crew of 5 for a restoration project. So I'll be headed back to the meadows at the end of April. I'm pretty excited about it. IBP looks like a great organization to work for. And I get to leave Texas early.

The goal of the project is to gather baseline point count data for ~20 meadows that will be restored to better conditions in the future. We'll also collect data from ~20 control sites for comparison. Sounds like this is the start of a long term project and one that is very much needed! I'll talk more about restoration in a future blog, I promise.

I miss the Sierras and no matter how hard I try to convince myself I could live somewhere else--I get pulled back in. "The mountains are calling and I must go" is a quote by John Muir. According to wiki Muir was: "a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas."

In 1903, Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt visited Yosemite together. "While traveling to the park, Muir told the president about state mismanagement of the valley and rampant exploitation of the valley's resources. Even before they entered the park, he was able to convince Roosevelt that the best way to protect the valley was through federal control and management."

I visited Yosemite for the first time in 2005 with my family. See picture of the valley below. Pretty nice, eh? Although I often wonder what Muir would think of the hoards of people that tramp through the park every summer. You really need to get on the trails to get away from the crowds. Someday I'd love to hike the the 211-mile John Muir Trail through the park.

Here's a picture (thanks to wiki) of Muir and Teddy together at Glacier Point.

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