Last week, I focused on refreshing my GIS skills (mapping), visiting more properties, and scheduling future visits. My big GIS (geographic information systems) mapping task this summer is to take Palmer's original property photo locations and turn them into coordinates compatible with our GPS devices. That way, Palmer property stewards can replicate original photos, and we can see how things change (or don't) over time. Since mapping is of skyrocketing importance in conservation and other fields, I'm eager to gain more practice.
The week wasn't complete without exploring some of the gorgeous public open spaces Palmer has protected. On Thursday, I met with the Park Ranger for the City of Colorado Springs, Melissa McCormick, in University Park and Sinton Pond Open Spaces. Despite consistent hiking excursions throughout my four years in Colorado Springs, I hadn't made it to either park before last week. In the hot summer sun, I was pleased to see rivers running, wildflowers blooming, and birds calling away. I also made it out to Paint Mines Interpretive Park, where a constant flow of hikers streamed in and out of the rainbow formations and open grasslands. Luckily, there hasn't been much to note in my property reports except healthy ecosystems and a few weeds that property managers already have plans to tackle.
In addition to my more serious tasks, I just created an Instagram page for Palmer. I thought Palmer’s work in protecting gorgeous open spaces and working landscapes made it a clear fit for the photo-sharing platform. If you’re on Instagram and interested in following me and Palmer’s other projects, find us at @PalmerLandTrust. Feel free to tag us in any of your summer adventures on our public properties!