My name is Emma Sudbeck and I was a 2021 Siegele Intern for the Colorado Natural Heritage Program. I am a senior majoring in Zoology and this was my first fieldwork experience and will definitely not be my last. Before this internship, I was focused toward veterinary practices but wanted to explore field work. After this summer, I have found a strong passion for conservation work and now I know that I will pursue a career in this field after I graduate.
One of the coolest parts about this internship was getting to go look for rare plants and animals that the general public has no idea about. My attention to detail while walking outside is elevated because of this. Previously, I would look at a field of grass and think “it’s just a field full of grass” but now I look at that same field and can point out many individual species
I loved all 9 projects that I worked on during the summer but some highlights were the Preble’s Meadow Jumping mouse project, looking for a rare plant in the Mosquito Range, and the Rollins Pass Bioblitz. While working on the PMJM project, I got to learn about using Sherman traps to trap small mammals. We would set them in the evening and go to check them in the morning so I got to see deer mice, montane voles, shrews, woodrats, and most importantly the Preble’s Meadow Jumping mouse which can be identified by its long hind feet and tail twice as long as its body. For the project in the Mosquito Range, I helped monitor the population of a very small rare plant that was hard to find. Although it was tedious work, the scenery while working about 12,000 feet made it worth it. Also, working with people from BLM, UNC, and the USFS that were all passionate about conservation made the week fun. Lastly, at the Rollins Pass Bioblitz, I got to interact with all kinds of scientists: bryologists, biologists, zoologists, historians, and botanists so I learned a lot. It was really interesting to learn more about the history of Rollins Pass and how to identify and key out plant and animal species using books as resources. Between meeting knowledgeable mentors, making lasting relationships with the other interns, and learning valuable skills for my future in conservation, this was an epic experience that I will never forget.