Waning Summer, Waxing Autumn

The summer sun was nearly wasted on me.  I spent a considerable amount of time indoors at a retail job in order to pay for the enumerating costs of living as an adult.  A three-car wreck on a busy urban road in morning traffic, a rusty muffler scraping on suburban asphalt streets, and the hassle of negotiating car insurance claims in a three-way whodunit scenario marked the end of a missed summer.

School started before fall broke in and I relieved my car situation just in time.  I was afforded a brief sigh of relief following an inhale of that crisp just-rained autumn scent before the semester’s chaos could ensue.  Who signs up for Organic Chemistry, Capstone, and an Internship within the same semester?  It’s only insanity if I repeat the same mistake, so I’m forced to trudge through.  Fortunately, at least two of these time intensive courses are forcing my hand deeper into the world of science sans academia.

My capstone course is a bit of a guided research project on someone else’s topic (I’m not very good at picking topics, so that worked in my favor).  Berberis thunbergii is a plant familiar to the shins of outdoorsmen and has some hidden impacts on forest dwellers as an invasive species.  I get to spend quality time with needle-thin thorn laden branches all in a thicket.  I’m doubly excited to show my scars and share what I’m learning about research.

My internship is with the herbarium at Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  I’m having way too much fun updating the taxonomical system and learning about what goes on behind the dinosaur dioramas and Egyptian exhibits.  I have the added benefit of an excuse to venture outside and gather plant specimens to add to the museum collection.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep the O-chem to myself.

Another course I’m enrolled in has rekindled my interest in the blog and inspired new ideas about post-graduate “real-world” opportunities.  Writing about environmental science is the course name, and the breadth of the course is surprising.  Grant-writing, children’s books, Rachel Carson-esque writing, and newspaper/magazine articles are some of the topics that we explore.  Flexing the creative parts of my mind in this course will be welcome relief from the rather dull writing of scientific literature.
I’ve also realized that perhaps my path into the world can be forged with a pen on paper (or keyboard on laptop? pixel on LCD?).  As long as I can control my comma usage this new career path seems like a real contender.  As always, I’m keeping my options open–because being a professional hermit is still pretty high on my list of desired jobs.

So with added gusto, I will introduce new viewpoints into the blog.  Some writing on subjects of interest, research project updates and insights, and what’s going on at my internship.  The initial idea of this blog was to have a place to make my own field guide available to the public and organized for my own records.  Now, instead, the writings will become the focal point, as accessible works that inform, entertain, and inspire readers on topics of the environment and ecology.

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
–Rachel Carson

Author: astanyoung

I'm a natural history educator and outdoor enthusiast. I want to help people understand and enjoy the natural world that we live in.

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