August has arrived, and here in Cape May we have begun preparations for the 2017 field season. It's time for the blog, which stays quiet for most of the off-season, to wake up and become active again! Our field season runs from September 1 to October 31, but we have already ordered tags, started to dust off our research equipment, and set the program schedule. We have also hired our two seasonal Field Naturalist Interns, who will arrive in late August.
We want to introduce the new staff to everyone who follows our project. Today we give the blog to Stephanie Augustine.
My name is Stephanie, and ever since I was two years old watching the cicadas emerge and fanning their wings to dry them, I've been surrounded by nature. Every summer I raised and released monarch butterflies, sketching life cycle stages and charting the caterpillars' progress through their instars. A childhood spent watching David Attenborough documentaries fostered a passion for wildlife, conservation, and education, and after I finished my B.S., I became a Conservation Educator at a zoo, where I worked with animals of all shapes and sizes and taught educational programs. My thirst for adventures led me to a field technician position in Costa Rica banding birds (including the Turquoise-browed Motmot in this photo). And now, joining the team in Cape May as a Monarch Naturalist is a new adventure, combining my childhood love of butterflies with my desire to contribute to conservation research and continue to work outdoors. I look forward to the upcoming days spent chasing monarchs and learning more about these beautiful and incredibly tough creatures.