GBI Media Contest December 2020 Submissions

Appropriately, December’s media contest theme was “Winter Wonderland.” Unsurprisingly, GBI personnel came through once again with some wonderful images, no doubt aided and abetted by the gorgeous landscapes in which they work.

This month’s winner is Kayla Hubbard, a GBI Research Associate working as an Environmental Engineering Intern with the National Park Service. “My office is in Lakewood, CO, though we have been fully remote since March,” Kayla tells us. “I work on various projects including designing water systems, septic systems, and solar heating systems for park units across the West. Working from home all this time has gotten pretty lonely, so I was happy to see that a new coworker joined my home office! I must have talked their ear off as they seemed a little cold to me. They’ll likely warm up to me by the spring. I just hope we’re able to get some work done in the meantime!”

Our thanks to Kayla (and her new coworker) for this great image, and thanks to all who submitted photos to the contest, some of which can be seen below.

(Note: social distancing measures are typically waved when one party is made of snow.)

Allison Dunkel, Research Associate, Physical Science Technician, Joshua Tree National Park. “Meet Elmers Tree! These pictures were taken a day apart from each other last year when a large snow storm swept the area. The one on the left is during the storm, and on the right is the day after. There are two things about these photos that I would like to mention. First the tree is named after Elmer Camp, one of the first rangers back when the area was freshly deemed a monument. He would frequently take his lunches under this Joshua tree, looking over the valley for fires during the monsoon season when lightning was common. Elmer Camp was my great grandfather, and now I get to carry on the honor of working in this magical place! The other thing I want to mention is how this picture is a great way to show the more fragile nature of the Joshua tree, or Yucca brevifolia. They have a very shallow root system, and the wood is not as dense as most trees. This is a relatively older tree in the park, and it has lost limbs before which is a natural part of their life cycle. However, I just want to point out that a few inches of snow accumulation was enough added weight to break the already strained limbs. Just imagine the damage a human could cause by hanging on them. So please, climb rocks not Joshua trees!”

Sierra Pederson, AmeriCorps. “Winter is an intense and stress inducing season for condor biologists. Now that hunting season is mostly over we are all working to trap as much of our population as possible to test and treat individuals that have lead poisoning. Condors are incredible scavengers that only eat carrion. Sadly, this means that they often consume spent shot in carcasses left behind by hunters in Kaibab National Forest. This picture was taken across from two coyote carcasses that were dumped off the side of the road. Our team is currently working to trap these individuals in the hopes that if they are sick we will be able to treat them before another condor is lost to something 100% preventable.”

Diana Hitchens, Research Associate, Stream Survey Crew Lead, Elko BLM. “From stormy Monument Peak, looking down at the calm Carson Valley, Nevada.”

Monica Depies, Research Associate, Seeds of Success Program, BLM Las Vegas Field Office. “Nothing says winter wonderland in the desert like a drive down Christmas Tree Pass near Cal-Nev-Ari. Pictured here is a Mojave yucca featuring a very festive pig and plenty of ornaments.”

Carrie Dean Farley, Nevada Conservation Corps. “Keeping warm with a little live music and dance to get through the cold desert night in Las Vegas. NCC Crew camping after a day clearing streams in the Clark County Wetlands. Photo featuring Brandon Olson.”

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