Mr. Baumgardner Goes to Washington

Earlier this April, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to represent the Ecological Society of America as a recipient of the Katherine S. McCarter Graduate Student Policy Award. This event provided me the opportunity to meet with my members of Congress to discuss my research and the benefits of federal investments in the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other science agencies.

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Washington Monument among the cherry blossoms.

While strolling around the Tidal Basin to observe the annual cherry blossom bloom, I was taken aback by the grandeur of the Washington Monument and was reminded of the insight of our Founding Fathers. In his first annual address to Congress, George Washington believed that knowledge was the surest basis of public happiness and advocated that “there is nothing which can better deserve [our] patronage than the promotion of science.” Whether I was meeting with the offices of fiscally conservative representatives or progressive senators, I was left with the impression that both valued scientific research. It is my hope, having shared my research along with other students in my field, that our members of Congress will be more inclined to support a federal budget that increases funding to the NSF. By continuing to support the NSF, they can be assured that the United States will continue to fuel scientific innovation and educate the next generation of scientists.

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Team AZ-CA after a successful day of meetings. From left to right, Stephen Elser (ASU), Emily Graves (UC Davis), and Aaron Baumgardner (CSUB).

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First Post & Joshua Tree

My first post on this website is long overdue. You may be asking yourself why I even decided to create my own website. I started this website in order to: 1) advertise myself as a scientist, 2) communicate my research to the public, and 3) share with you my interests in hiking, backpacking, and photography.

This post will be rather short. A part of me wanted to share some photos I took while on my recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park. It was my first trip that I was really able to hike and take photos. I’m still learning photography and editing techniques, but I am proud of how my shots came out.

My goal in going to Joshua Tree was to capture some awesome astro-photography shots; however, the full moon and cloudy skies prevented me from getting shots of the Milky Way and star trails. Because of this, I will soon be going to Death Valley for the new moon to try again.

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