Our field season has had to face many hurdles including wildfires and the resulting smokey conditions. Unfortunately, our crew was evacuated from our home base in Wawona when the Washburn Fire began. We were very fortunate that our supervisor was able to coordinate for us to backpack and sample in Kings Canyon National Park while smoke conditions were too hazardous for us to work in Yosemite. We made our way into Dusy Basin from Inyo National Forest where we were able to sample insects and document plant-insect interactions in the alpine habitat.
I was able to document many species I had never seen before such as the Sierra Nevada Parnassian (Parnassius behrii). This butterfly is often seen in rocky outcrops at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada. I found this specimen (pictured below) resting in the wind shadow of a boulder around 11,000 feet elevation.
Our crew has faced many challenges this season. Despite these challenges we were still able to help our program manager decipher the best way to move forward with the pollinator inventory project. Working with my supervisors at Yosemite was an invaluable experience that I will be forever grateful for.