MeadoWatch is nothing without our amazing volunteers. One of my favorite aspects of collecting data on MeadoWatch hikes is the opportunity to run into the very people that make MeadoWatch the amazing citizen science program it is.
Last week, while hiking the Reflection Lakes trail, I was brainstorming new ideas for blog posts that would create more of a community feel within the MeadoWatch program. I believe it is safe to say we all share a love for this program, the environment, and wildflowers but many of us know nothing about the other MeadoWatchers we have so much in common with. After running into Deb Naslund, and speaking with her briefly, I had an idea; to foster a greater sense of community I will start highlighting the volunteers I run into on the trails. So here is our first volunteer highlight.
MeadoWatchers, meet fellow MeadoWatcher, Deb Naslund!
Q: How many years have you been with MeadoWatch and how did you find out about the program?
Deb: I started volunteering with MeadoWatch in 2013. I was still working at the time, so this program was the perfect amount of commitment for a busy schedule – one day of training, two days out in the mountains. Honestly, I thought I should be paying you all for the opportunity! I can’t remember how I heard about the program.
Q: What is one thing you can’t be without on a hike?
Deb: I just can’t go out without some kind of plant id materials. Depending on how far and/or how long I’m planning on hiking, I may just bring the Washington Wildflowers app on my phone or go all out with multiple books on the flora of the area!
Q: What do you like most about being a part of MeadoWatch?
Deb: I love subalpine and alpine meadow ecosystems. When I was in school, eons ago, I did my research on nutrient cycling in subalpine meadows, just to have an excuse to spend time there. I enjoy helping, in this small way, with your research expanding our understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on these delicate areas.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment while on a MeadoWatch hike?
Deb: My most memorable moment on a MeadoWatch hike came in 2013 or maybe 2014, when a couple of hikers stopped to ask me what I was doing. Of course, I immediately launched into my usual overly enthusiastic explanation. But, this couple took a genuine interest in what we were doing and asked several insightful questions. As I was about to hike on, clutching, as usual, my copy of “Flora of Mount Rainier National Park” by David Biek, the woman turned to me and said, pointing to her companion, “You know, David wrote that book…”. Oh my! I had just been talking about Mt. Rainier wildflowers with David Biek himself! My only regret was that I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask him to sign my book right there on the spot.
Thank you, Deb for sharing a little bit about yourself and your MeadoWatch experiences! I’m sure I’m not alone in saying your story about David Biek is amazing. Thanks for helping make MeadoWatch the incredible program it is! Don’t forget to check back in next week for our next volunteer highlight!
As always, happy hiking and data collecting, MeadoWatchers. I hope to run into some of you on the trails next week!
All the Best,
Joshua and Your MeadoWatch Team