Emma Eisenhauer: Introduction

Hi everyone! My name is Emma and I will be a sophomore at UAF studying wildlife biology and conservation. I’m from Nevada and will be there for part of the class, but I will be in Montana this week and next, then in Michigan the final week of the class. I’m mostly familiar with desert plants but my knowledge of plants farther north such as the Arctic is pretty limited. I have some experience gardening with my mom, but keeping a thriving garden in a place like Nevada with the little rain and the heat is pretty hard.

I’m definitely more familiar with animals, being a wildlife major and all, but a huge part of the job is knowing how the animals interact with the plant world in their habitats so I’m looking forward to this class because I’d love to learn more about the plants in Alaska. I’d love to stay up here after I graduate and work since I’ve met lots of incredible biologists in my first year as a student there.

My favorite plant is a Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi). They are pretty common in my area and I learned a lot about them in a summer camp I was in a few years ago. The reason it is my favorite is because if you press your nose right up to the bark and sniff, you’ll find that it smells just like vanilla extract. One of my favorite memories from that camp is how everyone would sniff the trees from time to time on the hikes because we were so amazed they smelled sweet like that.

One comment

  1. Welcome Emma,
    smell the flowers… bark. I remember those smells from my time hiking in the Sierras. These are awesome trees. It is refreshing to hear from a wildlife major that they realize the importance of the plants as a food source for the fauna. There are so many aspects of plants that are important to know as a wildlife manager, ranger, etc., so it is a great idea for you to embark on learning more about the plants in Alaska. I hope you learn some of them more intimately. There are many plants that overlap with other areas in the lower 48, and if they are not the same species, often they are the same genus. I am looking forward to your observations from the various areas you will be passing through this summer. There is a pretty amazing stand of shore pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Louden var. contorta) near Yakutat, Alaska. Not too many pines in Alaska, but we have a few. If you are interested this is a nice write-up of the stand https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/science/2021/08/14/exploring-trees-in-the-countrys-farthest-north-pine-grove/

    Shore pine near the town of Yakutat (photo by Ned Rozell).

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