Mar 16, 2009

Dissertation Decisions

Post Tenerife I've had some time to think about what I want to do for my dissertation this summer. I'm going to talk to my prof in about an hour, but I'm feeling a little glowy about the idea of returning to San Francisco to map the distribution and management of invasive species. The city now has a weed management area and I like the idea of contributing to that larger goal. And I really miss my parks!

Having worked on those lands previously, I'm keen to touch that sandy, rocky soil. I've heard so much about the weird weather and I miss the coastal gusts. I want to see that oak tree in McLaren and those spots I weeded on Twin Peaks a year ago. What's happened to it now? Was my work effective? Am I really going to have the pleasure of mapping the former distribution of French broom in the Bowl (a spot on Twin Peaks)? Is there some opportunity for me to evaluate the way that our different eradication methods have worked? Some way to relate the removal of large monocultures to the resulting diversity or persistence of rarities or endangered species found in SF? You can bet I'll try.

This project reminds me a bit of Green DogWalks in that it requires evaluating the efficacy of our actions in natural areas. I know it's crucial to good management, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. Whatever, better to know than to not, right? After my initial foray into GIS, I'm surprised that I'm seeking this project, but it's such a fabulous tool. I'm sure my tech-drama will end when I get back to SF, where internet is reliable! (Yeah, I know that has nothing to do with my ability to use GIS).

What happened to my draw to the desert? Well, the limitations are vast, including financial. Ok that one's huge. But also, everything I want to study is going to be cured or dead over my study period. Means no field work though I might be able to use existing data. So I'd be spending my summer in air conditioning and riding in cars instead of on my bike mapping the land I love. No shit, I'm a little disappointed, but I'm not going to dwell on that. I'll go to the desert for work some day. I'll make it to the border to fight that wall with the Endangered Species Act, no doubt.

But for now, I'm feeling glowy about SF. (Ignore that last post that mentioned me remembering all the reasons I left. I'm planning on ignoring all of that crap when I get back.) I'm stoked about seeing my cats. When I told Blake that we have to get rid of everything gray because I'm sick of gray, he reminded me that our dear Quivus is gray. And she's pretty awesome! So true.

But I have to say, it's not gray here at all. It's sunny and blue. And I'm looking forward to walking my favorite gray dog, Pixel (and his brother, Raster) later in Brockwell Park.


Beth! said...

I'm glad to hear that you are excited about the decision you have made!

Anonymous said...

This is unrelated to your most recent post but I'm not sure where to post a general question. I just heard about you from reading a Dec 08 Sunset Magazine. I love what you're doing and want to find a group near me. I see Seattle groups but was wondering if you knew of anything in the Olympia, WA area. If so, could you please direct me? Many thanks and well done!

rachel kesel said...

hey there,
i'm not aware of any groups in Olympia, but two things you might do
Post on the main yahoo group asking for others in your area (note that i'd sign up as 'web only' for your message preference as that group is HIGH volume)
or post on the seattle group with the same question.
thanks for your interest and good luck finding like minds!