Last week, the first paper from my dissertation work was published in the Journal of Environmental Management. If you want some light reading, the paper is open access for the next month or so at this link.
Utah Public Radio Science Intern, Andrew Durso, interviewed me about my research earlier this week and did a great job! If you would like to listen to/read about some of the key findings of my dissertation you can check out Andrew’s story here:
I took a break from blogging this Fall while I have been working on another type of outdoor recreation/public lands outreach project with my knitting group. My next blog post will be about this project! I am so excited with how it has turned out.
But this week, I wrote a guest post over at The Eco Tome that is an introduction to recreation ecology and the types of basic questions that we ask in our field.
Go check it (and the other greats posts!) here: http://scifundchallenge.org/ecotome/2016/01/16/where-recreation-ecologists-spend-their-summer-vacation/
As a side note, this collaboration was inspired by a meeting Megan Litwhiler at ComSciCon Applications for this year’s ComSciCon are being accepted until March 1st.
Friday I turned my dissertation into the library at Utah State. This means that I am officially “Dr. D’Antonio”. As far as I know, I am one of few members of my family to go to college, the first in my family to go to graduate school, and definitely the only one to get a Ph.D. – my parents are super proud. For me, I just feel relieved to have my defense over (I caught a cold and had some technical difficulties so that could have gone better) and my dissertation done. Otherwise I don’t think the whole idea of being “finished” has hit me. Next week, I officially start a postdoc position at Utah State where my main responsibility will be teaching. I am really excited about this opportunity and it is also allowing my partner and me to delay the inevitable “two-body problem” by at least a year. Before the semester starts though, my first responsibility as a postdoc is a small research project in a place I love. And that is really what this post is about – finding my park.
My last post was about social media and how it has been used to catch vandals in US National Parks. But that is not the only way in which social media and national parks are converging these days. More and more, social media is being used by land management agencies (like the National Park Service, the USDA Forest Service, and the BLM) to engage with the public. Here I am going to highlight two social media campaigns that attempt to engage new audiences and bring those audiences out to experience public lands: The “Red Chair Experience” campaign from Parks Canada and the “Find Your Park” Campaign by the National Park Service.
Me “participating” in the #sharethechair campaign at the George Wright Society conference.
This past year I have upped my social media presence and tried to become a bit more “social media savy”. Besides making an effort to become more active on Twitter, I also created an Instagram account. Honestly, the inspiration for starting to use Instagram was that I feared my constant posting of cat photos on Facebook was going to cause me to lose some friends. But on Instagram, the more cat photos the better, right?
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) this post will not contain any cat photos, but it will contain links to Instagram photos of illegal activity occurring in national parks . On Friday night, while taking a break from work – because grad students trying to defend soon work on Friday nights – I noticed an interesting post on Twitter from Modern Hiker that linked to Instagram.
That image was found on the Instagram account of Andre Saravia (AKA Mr. Andre) a french graffiti artist and appeared to show a graffiti tag in a location that looks suspiciously like it was taken in Joshua Tree National Park. Mr. Andre stated that the photo was taken in a friends backyard (private property). However Modern Hiker, with the help of other social media users, did a great job “sleuthing” and found that the tagging indeed occured within the boundaries of Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree’s Chief Ranger received various calls about the graffiti and the park is beginning to investigate.
When people outside of my field find out that I do research in national parks, inevitably the question of “Do you have a favorite national park?” comes up. I always have a really hard time choosing; each national park is unique and I honestly I like them all. But when pressed, I usually respond with “It’s a tie between Isle Royale National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park.” I have already done a blog post about why I love Isle Royale National Park. Given that tomorrow is the 100th anniversary of the signing of the legislation that created Rocky Mountain National Park, I figured that I would celebrate it’s centennial by writing a post about why I love Rocky Mountain National Park.
My first visit to Rocky Mountain National Park during a research scoping visit. I am the one on the left looking around in wonder and awe (photo by Annie Weiler).
September 3rd, 2014 was the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964. In recognition of this anniversary, President Obama has declared September 2014 as “National Wilderness Month”. In the official Presidential Proclamation, President Obama “invite[s] all Americans to visit and enjoy our wilderness areas, to learn about their vast history, and to aid in the protection of our precious national treasures.” As part of my personal celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, the following post will be all about designated wilderness in the US.