Elizabeth Forrey (right) and a colleague conduct field work with a Channel island fox, amidst the scrub on Santa Cruz island, California


Remote work

Santa Cruz Island pokes out of the Pacific Ocean about 25 miles off the coast of Southern California. It’s the rugged star of Channel Islands National Park and home to nearly 60 species of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth, says the National Park Service. Think of it as a mini Galapagos just off the edge of our continent.

One of its unique species is the island fox, which is among the rarest mammals in North America. These furry charmers drew Elizabeth Forrey, ’23, to an extended stay on the island in July 2021. Her work — which she did through an internship with the Nature Conservancy and with the support of Richmond Guarantee funding — involved safely trapping, vaccinating, and microchipping the foxes and island spotted skunks to help protect the species.

Rare mammals weren’t the only thing she was there to examine. “I wanted to learn about the daily life of wildlife technicians and biologists,” she said.

Her verdict? “I love it.”

Read more about her experience here.