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From the Field

Ecology up close as an ACRC intern

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius. My spring/summer internship with the Alaska Coastal Rainforest has been the very embodiment of that quote. Who would have thought that one brief exchange with my Earth and Environment lab professor, Jason Fellman, would lead to this wonderful opportunity. During the fall semester of 2021, I was standing in Montana Creek measuring water velocity with a classmate. Jason is nearby and I comment, “Man, this is the kind of stuff I’m here for, being out in the field.” “Really? You enjoy this?”, he asks, seemingly surprised to hear that about what seems like, and what many may consider, a mundane task. “Oh, for sure! I’d love to find a career being outside in the field, collecting data and analyzing samples.” Four months later, just before the start of the spring semester, I receive an email from Jason and professor of environmental science Eran Hood with an invitation: an internship assisting Emily Whitney, a research professional at ACRC, with laboratory tasks, downloading data from sensors installed in several streams around Juneau and preparing for the summer sampling season.

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Streamflow sampling with ACRC

My name is Naomi Boyles-Muehleck, and I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Biology from the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. This summer, I had the opportunity to work as a research assistant at the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. Throughout the summer I participated in a project sampling drift from three streams along the Juneau road system. These three streams, Cowee Creek, Herbert River, and Peterson Creek, represent a gradient of glacial influence. The goal of the project was to gain insight into carbon fluxes and nutrient transport in temperate rainforest and glacially fed stream systems.

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Cultural Landscapes of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Gunaaxoo-Alséix (Dry Bay-lower Alsek River)

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Sam Beebe/Ecotrust, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Finding a path in environmental science

My name is Connor Owens, and I’m an undergraduate student currently pursuing a B.S. in environmental science at UAS. This fall, I have been working as a science communications intern at the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. Throughout this internship so far, I have worked both remotely and in the field to help collect and summarize data and information, largely relating to Juneau's yearly glacial lake outburst floods from Suicide Basin.

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ACRC researchers adapt to fieldwork under new conditions

When COVID-19 brought normal operations at the Juneau Forestry Sciences Lab and the University of Alaska Southeast to a halt this spring, ACRC researchers were challenged to find safe, responsible ways to continue their work. The ability to carry out fieldwork to maintain long-standing datasets was a priority for many ongoing research projects. ACRC has contributed to datasets of stream water chemistry in the Juneau area since 2012, with monthly water samples and regular flow measurements collected through the summer.

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two scientists in masks assemble a piece of equipment

Wrapping up the 2019 Field Season

With the start of December, we can now say that the majority of our field activities have wrapped up for the year. Our regular water sampling has concluded for the year and stream sensors have been retrieved. We even had the company of some curious river otters as we pulled our sensor at Fish Creek. We had a great field and lab crew this summer. Over the course of the summer, the whole ACRC team participated in collected data (even Leah Gregg, our Admin specialist, joined in the fieldwork). A special thanks to our undergraduate student workers Liam Bogardus, Skye Hart, Connor Johnson, and Sol Martinez for their hard work collecting samples, taking measurements, and processing samples in the lab.  This winter, I will continue to process and analyze samples. Stay tuned as we pull together data on water quality, stream chemistry, and streamflow from eight sites along the Juneau road system.

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Emily downloads logger data

Studying glacial dynamics as an ACRC Intern

My name is Skye and I am an undergraduate student in the environmental science program at UAS. This summer I had the opportunity to be a research assistant studying Suicide Basin, a glacier-dammed lake adjoining Mendenhall Glacier that has generated outburst floods regularly over the last decade. During this internship, I was able to join in on the field days where we would fly by helicopter to Suicide Basin, utilize image processing and digital mapping skills I learned from classes this past year at UAS, and get my commercial drone license.

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The undergraduate research experience at ACRC

My name is Connor M. Johnson, and I’m currently pursuing a B.S. of Environmental Science at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau. The past two summers I’ve had the opportunity to engage in undergraduate research at the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. For those who don’t know, ACRC is a University/US Forest Service research collaboration where folks from both the Forest Service and the University join forces to conduct research.

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The murky waters of safe shellfish harvesting

Alaskans love shellfish. From butter clams to razor clams to geoducks (pronounced gooey-ducks), shellfish are a delicious treat and an important subsistence item for Native communities. People have been harvesting shellfish here for thousands of years. At some sites in British Columbia, archaeologists have found clam beds constructed over 1,000 years ago[1].

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Shellfish Clod Cards

Waiting for rain in the temperate rainforest

I am not a morning person, and pouring rain isn’t usually the type of weather that makes me want to jump out of bed quickly. But at the end of last summer, I found myself on several dark and rainy 4 A.M. drives, groggily gulping coffee as I headed for my field sites in the Fish Creek watershed on the north end of Douglas Island.

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Behnke Tree Sampling