Published: April 6, 2017

My fascination with intersectionality and evolution brought me to CU’s EBIO department. In Costa Rica, where I studied abroad, I completed my first research study on soil health differences between different land-uses. This program revealed the real-life nature of research: muddy boots, meticulous data collection, awe-inspiring creatures, journal jargon, frustration, and growth. I left Costa Rica with a renewed sense of purpose: To quantify human impact on local environments and to prevent further degradation.

Back in Boulder I met with my future advisor, Timothy Seastedt, to find an outlet for my passion. I was introduced to a site in South Boulder that was used as a gravel pit for many years before it was remediated and seeded with native grasses. Only one follow-up study examined the success of the seeding, and we decided that a reevaluation would be an excellent application of my interests and experience. My Honors Thesis examines the changes in community ecology in this plot through the summer of 2016 and through the 18 years since the seeding. We question, How resilient are restored landscapes? Was the restoration effort successful? Which species dominate now and why? As you might expect... the answer is complicated.