04 February 2023

Goals for the new year

Written by: Annika Benedetti

2022 has come and gone and I am very grateful for the professional and personal experiences over the year that I will take with me for the rest of my career. I am also excited for the upcoming year, and the opportunity to continue my time with the U.S Fish and Wildlife and contribute to the goal of the Civilian Climate Corps with my work locating wells with remote sensing. My aims for this year are to expand my coding, presenting and networking skills, I hope be able to visit more refuges in person and due on the ground work, and of course finish more refuges.

Thankfully, 2023 has been off to a great start! I spent the holidays enjoying time with my family trying to relax and get mentally prepared for the new year’s hustle and bustle.

               I am really looking forward to our upcoming trip to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge to meet the rest of the CCC Fellows. It will be an amazing opportunity to connect with my peers and professionals in person. I am interested in hearing about the work the other CCC Fellows doing at other refuges or FWS headquarters. Being at the regional office in Albuquerque, I have more a top down approach and view of our work. Quite literally, we are looking down at the refuges from the satellite imagery and lidar we utilize. I am very interested to getting the perspectives from other fellows, biologists, and managers who physically work on the refuge and have a clearer, more realistic perspective on its habitats and terrain. I say more “realistic” because the imagery and lidar datasets of these places that may be a couple of years old as it is a very time intensive process to collect, create, alter, and approve these datasets for agency and public use. In addition, especially on coastal refuges like in Texas, there are regular flooding and strong storms that can alter and degrade the terrain. Areas that we might consider to have potential abandoned wells could be completely submerged or in an area that has been overgrown with vegetation. We need to consider these possibilities because we will be eventually sending field crews to possible abandoned well locations that we have selected, and they need to know the feasibility of reaching these places on the ground. So, I am very interested to hear their day-to-day experiences on the refuges we are working on.

               I am also looking forward to introducing our work at the Aransas trip. Our work can be very technical and complicated to explain in a short presentation. You never quite know the extent of your audience’s background on your topic. A crucial part of science communication is making sure to the best of your ability that your audience understands your results, their meaning, and the relevance of your project. It is something I need more practice in.

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