Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Life Aquatic 2011 - Introducing Mara

Hello! My name is Mara Healy. I’m a student at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies within Western Washington University and am super excited to be home in Olympia working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for the summer.

I am working on an outreach program called the Youth Fisheries Academy during July and spending some time working on field projects in August. Claire Wood, Tree Steele, and I are all Student Temporary Employee Program (STEP) fisheries technicians and we will be writing about our experiences leading fish dissections, experimenting with radio telemetry, macroinvertebrate sampling and much more. Hopefully, the blog entries from the three of us will give you an idea about the amazing work FWS is doing and what it’s like to be a part of the team.

This first week of work has been filled with training galore! We’ve also been learning the curriculum for the Youth Fisheries Academy camps and what activities we will be responsible for leading. I will be focusing on fish anatomy dissection, so I’ve been busy practicing and observing dissections and learning about the functions of internal organs, external features, and the natural history of salmon.

As you’ll be hearing from us every couple weeks or so, I’ll tell you a little bit more of my story. I’m interested in biology, aquatic ecosystems, education, and being outside. I am super excited that I have the opportunity to gain experience in education outreach, as well as field biology, while earning money to help fund my college education. Over the past year at Fairhaven College, I have been fortunate enough to work with some wonderful biologists and ecologists who have encouraged and supported me in designing and implementing field-based pilot studies as a part of my education. These projects have been hugely influential for me in transforming some of the aesthetically-based interest I have in the natural world into scientifically-based curiosity. For the most part, my studies have focused on marine ecosystems; I am excited to stretch and grow my knowledge and understanding of fisheries biology. Aside from my academic life, I enjoy rock climbing, knitting, hiking, and being on the water.

I am looking forward to a summer filled with inspiring outreach events, diverse field work opportunities, and weekends filled with sun-warmed rock, neon green foliage, fresh berries, and lots of beach walks and tide pool exploration!