I have been lucky enough to volunteer at Lassen Volcanic National Park, California as part of the USA’s IVIP (International Volunteer In Parks) program. I spent 6 weeks in this remote park in Northern California where I learned techniques in all things wildlife and plants in relation to my degree.
The park is stunning and has a diversity of landscapes which made my hikes as part of ‘work’ worth all the efforts. One day we would do bird surveys in a marshland, the other a plant survey in a canyon or even camera trapping for carnivores near lava beds and lakes. While learning a lot of biology-related skills, I also learned a lot from other interns and supervisors who had a variety of knowledge and an inspiring dedication.
There wasn’t any typical working day as we could be doing spotted owls surveys and go to work at 6pm or wake up at 4am for bird banding, but it kept everyday very exciting. On days off, I would still hike around the park and enjoy its beautiful views, go swimming in natural water holes or go stargazing in a sky that had close to no light pollution.
Left: Orange Crowned Warbler & Right: Spotted Owl
Overall, I had a rewarding time in Lassen Volcanic Park -from the skills I’ve learned to the people I’ve met or the unique places I got to see- and I am very grateful that the University of Edinburgh’s Go Abroad Fund has funded my amazing experience!