Earlier this week a friend of mine posted the music video below to Facebook. Given that I am currently doing some winter data collection in Grand Teton National Park, I immediately fell in love with the song (please ignore the fact that there are no shots of the Tetons in the actual video…). While the song itself is pretty awesome, the reason it was written is even more exciting.
Sadly, it was not my research that was featured by National Geographic. As Dave recently found out, one of the benefits – or possibly curses depending on your perspective – of studying charismatic megafauna (particularly a species that is threatened by climate change) is that people actually pay attention to your research. A couple of weeks ago, while I was all excited about my lab’s work being published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environmental, Dave had to “one-up” me.
Dave’s Nightmare (from PhD Comics)
Given that recreation ecology is an emerging field of study, the journals that we publish in – while good and important journals – do not usually have the highest impact factor or are the most widely read. However, that may be changing! My advisor, Chris Monz and two Australian colleagues, authored the cover article of this month’s issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The October 2013 issue also features a Guest Editorial by another well-known recreation ecologist out of Australia – Ralf Buckley. Frontiers is a journal published by the Ecological Society of America and hopefully the October issue, which puts recreation ecology in the spotlight, will be just the first step in introducing recreation ecology research to a broader scientific audience.
On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act which created a new agency within the Department of the Interior called the National Park Service. At this point, the Department of the Interior was struggling to manage 14 national parks and 21 national monuments. The task was becoming too daunting and thus a the new agency was created with the sole responsibility:
“to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
In honor of the National Park Service’s birthday, I decided to write a short post about the first director of the National Park Service: Stephen T. Mather.
Portrait of Stephen T. Mather from 1916
When I was little, as in from the age when I began forming memories until I was in school full-time, I distinctly recall filling the majority of my time with three activities; playing outside, building things with Lego blocks, and watching TV. My two favorite TV shows were Sesame Street and Zoobilee Zoo (this show seems slightly creepy to me now…). Sesame Street influenced me so much growing up that for a period of my life (maybe 4th through 6th grade), I was seriously reconsidering my plans to become a marine biologist and decided that I wanted to work in Jim Henson’s creature shop making muppets instead. Obviously neither of those things happened but my childhood love and my current career path met one another this week when the National Park Service, Sesame Street, and the National Park Foundation teamed up!