A new love for ecology

It’s been a great month here in Southeast Alaska… the experience as a whole has been nothing short of spectacular. Working aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird/Sea Lion has been a pleasure. I’ve learned an amazing amount of information in these last four weeks, working with some of the finest naturalist and expedition leaders in the company. This trip really opened my eyes to the broader sense of what it means to be a ‘naturalist,’ and both the knowledge and passion each and every one of my colleagues has for the greatness of Alaskan wilderness is inspiring and moving.

Before arriving, I had a pretty thorough knowledge of the wildlife we would be seeing, but after listening to the amazing lectures and expedition reports from my fellow naturalists, I realized there was a LOT to learn. And I was eager to soak it all in! During our daily excursions, the naturalists not only pointed out and identified the species we were seeing, but they would also tie in stories and explanations of how the plants and animals we saw interacted in the ecosystem, and tied everything in to the larger picture. This experience awakened my senses to the interconnectedness of the land, the animals, the people, the culture, the climate, the history, the geography, and everything else that plays a role in shaping this amazing wilderness.

It’s been an absolute blast learning from these skilled naturalists, and it’s been very inspiring for me as an ecologist and environmentalist. I am always seeking ways to continue my learning, to enhance my experiences in the outdoors, and to enjoy this one and only precious life that we are so blessed to live, and working up here in Alaska has done just that. It’s been a great month, and I can’t wait to return in a few weeks!

While I rarely had time to shoot (too busy studying up on the ecology so I could lead the naturalist walks!), I did enjoy the few chances I had to snap some photos… enjoy!

One of my new favorite photos... this was an amazing interaction with killer whales during a stunning sunset. 

One of my new favorite photos... this was an amazing interaction with killer whales during a stunning sunset. 

Harbor seal on ice

Harbor seal on ice

National Geographic Sea Lion at sunrise, Glacier Bay National Park

National Geographic Sea Lion at sunrise, Glacier Bay National Park

Bald eagles are some of my favorite birds to photograph... so much power and finesse! 

Bald eagles are some of my favorite birds to photograph... so much power and finesse! 

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

Orca with near perfect reflections on a calm day

Orca with near perfect reflections on a calm day

A family of killer whales passes by

A family of killer whales passes by

Nice place to hang out...

Nice place to hang out...

Harbor seal

Harbor seal

Amazing foggy morning watching humpback whales

Amazing foggy morning watching humpback whales

Great catch! Looks like a pollock in this eagle's talons...

Great catch! Looks like a pollock in this eagle's talons...

One of the most beautiful sunrises I'd seen in a while... near Gustavus Alaska

One of the most beautiful sunrises I'd seen in a while... near Gustavus Alaska