Each summer, the Nantucket Conservation Foundation hires two seasonal botany field assistants to help us collect data on a variety of projects throughout the field season. This year, we are very lucky to have Natalie Pawlikowski and Kaitlyn Evans joining our team! These two ladies will be helping us to locate populations of rare plants on island, remove invasive species, document the effects of deer browse on rare species, map forest composition, collect and propagate seed from native plants, and monitor changes to salt marsh vegetation at Medouie Creek, to name just a few tasks! Natalie and Kaitlyn introduce themselves below:
I grew up in and around Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with a double major in Integrative Biology and English. I am passionate about ecology and conservation and have been fortunate to have a diversity of different research and field experiences. As an undergraduate, the majority of my research was focused on understanding the expanding distribution of the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and spread of Lyme Disease in the midwestern United States. However, I also have been involved in research projects examining social perceptions of white-tailed deer, ocelot behaviors, the ecology of sylvatic plague in prairie dog colonies, and the urban ecology of West Nile virus. Outside of research projects, I have also had a couple of memorable field seasons working on conservation and restoration projects. During my first internship, I worked for a non-profit dedicated to conserving native prairies and grasslands of Illinois. Last summer, I was an intern with the Chicago Botanical Gardens and the Bureau of Land Management. I worked in northeastern California, primarily monitoring rare plant populations and collecting native seed for fire rehabilitation projects.
However, this is my first time working in the Northeast and my first time visiting Nantucket. I am excited at the opportunity to explore the diversity of habitats and organisms on the island. From the beginning, everyone at NCF has been extremely kind and welcoming and I have already had the chance to explore some of NCF’s properties (Squam Farm and Swamp, Sanford Farm, Tupancy House, etc) and work on a variety of restoration and research projects. I think it will be an exciting field season and am happy to be spending the next five months on Nantucket!
I am from Worcester, VT and went to school at St. Lawrence University in New York. I graduated with a degree in biology and French. After I graduated, I worked for the Student Conservation Association (SCA) on a trail crew in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. I then took an internship on Catalina Island, off the coast of southern California, as an invasive species removal technician. After that, I had an internship in Moab, UT with the National Park Service as a botany technician where I assisted them on their long-term vegetation monitoring project. That internship led to a job with the Inventory and Monitoring division of the NPS for which I worked seasonally for a few years. Most recently I was working in Durango, CO as a baker for Serious Delights, a small family owned bakery. I made bread and all sorts of pastries and desserts. After working in the bakery for about two years, I was ready to get back into the conservation field and was also looking to move closer to home. I saw this job and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to do both. In my first two weeks, I have already had the opportunity to learn and experience many new things including new plants, animals, ecosystems, and getting stuck in quicksand in a salt marsh! It has been a very eventful first two weeks and I am really looking forward to the rest of the summer.
Please join us in welcoming Kaitlyn and Natalie to the NCF crew and if you see them out and about on our properties, feel free to say hello and ask questions about nature on Nantucket!
The Nantucket Conservation Foundation is a private, non-profit land trust that depends on contributions from our members to support our science projects, conservation property acquisitions, and land management efforts. If you are not already a member, please join us! www.nantucketconservation.org