Senior Kathy Acosta will be working with Mount Rainier National park in Ashford, Washington after graduation. She will be working with the Cascade Butterfly Program to monitor subalpine butterfly populations, plant phenology, and communicating the program progress and findings to the public. The Cascades Butterfly Program is a volunteer-based program that monitors the distribution and abundance of subalpine butterflies. Butterflies are very sensitive indicators of climate change and when monitored can give information about changes to an ecosystem.
Kathy will travel in June out to Washington where she will live in a bunkhouse provided by the internship for 12 weeks. The park is located in a very desolate area. The closest small grocery story is 35 miles from the park and larger stores are over 60 miles from housing. Cell phone coverage is very limited and it is not unusual for snow every once in a while over the summer. An average day of work for this internship requires between 5 and 10 miles of hiking a day, and multiple overnight camping sites on a weekly basis.