Over the course of this summer, my internship has allowed me to interact with the environment on a deeper level than jobs I have worked over past summers. Having the opportunity to not only maintain native plant species and eradicate invasives and learn about each plant and their growing habits has encouraged me to continue environmental studies in the future. Working with woody plants in particular, I have developed an interest in their growing patterns of trees and shrubs, their identifying features, and their global impact and hope to take classes on these topics in the future. As a future PITE major, I may even look into career paths and concentrations that deal with their biological functions and overall benefits. The research project that I completed on the topic of “Food Forests” has also prompted me to continue on the environmental science track. The fact that nature has the potential to not only efficiently sustain itself, but other organisms, including human, at the same time is exciting! Essentially, this sheds light on the ability of plants to produce food and shelter for a plethora of species as well as the apparent harm in their disappearance.
Over the years, many woody and herbaceous plants have been removed from the environment for the sake of humanity alone. Societal development efforts, the lumber industry, and a number of other man-made aspects have caused natural areas and those who inhabit them to suffer. Habitat loss is a real and ongoing problem in the world that is directly linked to the disappearance of many species of animals. If the fact that we are causing entire organisms to spontaneously disappear in our wake is not powerful enough to discourage deforestation, maybe the seemingly distant, but apparent thought that we are killing ourselves will be. Through biological processes, plant species are able to active convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into food for themselves; furthermore, they release oxygen when the process is complete. This process not only feeds the plants, but allows us to breath and enjoy the air that we do on a daily basis. With this in mind, should trees and other plant species come to die off as a whole, we would not be able to live, or even function. The time in which humanity could survive without nature is likely very short. This is why, through my future work, I hope to utilize my skills to further raise awareness of nature’s importance while doing some that I love; though, I only have a rough idea of what I would like to do at this point.
In all, the learning experiences that I had over the course of my internship have encouraged me to continue studying the environment and the ways that we interact with it daily. Before I die, I hope to change the trajectory of our planet’s future in some way shape or form. I firmly believe that we should not leave future generations to deal with the aftermath of today’s problems.