Not long after getting out of the car at our field site, sweat trickles out of every pore, mosquitos dive bomb at all directions, thistles scratch at my legs, and fatigue makes this patch of grass look like a really nice place for a nap . . . Shielding the sun from my eyes, I scan the prairie for where we need to go: about a mile or two to a Cirsium hillii population in need of some help.
It’s currently week six of the internship and I’m a bit blown away by how fast it went by. I can already tell from where I’m at now in my project that there’s so much more I want to do with it. The interest that I had when I chose and first started this project has turned into ardent fervor.
Before this summer I was trying to decide what in particular I wanted to research, and how I could use that experience to better my future and the lives of those around me. I eventually decided on soil research, as I believe agricultural questions as well as any plant-related question can be answered through soil analysis.
A week into coming to Chicago I went on a research trip to Door Country, Wisconsin. The cabin we stayed in turned into a make shift lab and it was the most authentic field research I have ever experienced.
I get a lot of blank stares and quizzical looks when I try to tell people about my project.
"You're working with...what?"
"What is that?"
"Did you say...*hot* moths???"
The internship is entering its fourth week and the projects of both my mentor and I have developed nicely. Now that we have developed a general timeframe for the rest of the summer, we hope to get answers to our questions in a timely fashion.
This internship is such an amazing opportunity. As a first-generation college student, I was so proud to get this opportunity, made even more special because it takes place at the Garden. That’s the best part: being able to work in a place that’s so alive (literally), and with so many resources for research and education.
Though I go to school in Chicago, there is still a lot to see and do and I have enjoyed being here. I am also having fun with my project: we have done both field and lab work and I am slowly building useful skills. There is still a lot to do but I am excited for the rest of the summer!