STUDENT INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
In order to focus our conservation efforts on the most vulnerable plant species and associated habitats in the Sonoran Desert, it is critical to understand the conservation status across all plant species. Two FSD board members are currently compiling an inventory of Sonoran Desert plants and have initiated IUCN Red List assessments on selected plant families. The IUCN Red List is the global gold standard for threatened species assessments.
We created our student internship program to train university students to compile plant data and draft Red List assessments on priority plant species. The interns will learn how to use the Species Information System to insure that the most current information on Sonoran Desert plants is represented in the Red List database. This process updates the conservation status of each species and makes the data accessible to the conservation community. Knowing the status of each species allows us to focus our conservation efforts on those species at highest risk of extinction.
Our interns will focus on the Fabaceae, a plant family of huge importance to the health and sustainability of the Sonoran Desert. These plants provide shade for young cacti, protecting them from the searing sun when they are small, and produce edible bean pods, a source of food for many wildlife species. Wildflowers like lupines, bushes like fairy dusters, and trees like mesquites, palo verdes, and ironwoods, are all members of this important plant family.
2020 Student Interns
Makenzie Meacham is a student at Northern Arizona University pursuing a BS degree in Environmental Science with a biology emphasis. She will work under the supervision of FSD Board Member Helen Rowe.
Jack Buchanan is a student at Northern Arizona University pursuing a BS degree in Environmental Science with a biology emphasis, and a minor in Chemistry. He will work under the supervision of FSD Board Member Helen Rowe.