Student Research Profile: Amber Washington

Meet Amber Washington, a senior environmental studies major at PUC who plans to continue on to graduate school for forensic science. Last year, she conducted research at Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa Valley, analyzing different native plant species.

Who are you?
I’m Amber Washington and I’m a senior environmental studies major. I plan to go to graduate school to obtain my master’s degree in forensic science.

What did you do?
I was responsible for researching the different native plant species located in the Skyline Wilderness Park, which is home to the Napa Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS). Also, as a member of the CNPS (Napa Valley Chapter), I participated in several restoration projects in the Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden in the Skyline Wilderness Park and the annual spring native plant sale.

When and where did you do this work?
My internship with the California Native Plant Society (Napa Valley Chapter) was for five months in the winter and spring of 2017.

What did you learn?
There are more than 200 California native plants in the Skyline Wilderness Park. These native plants classify as perennial herbs, annual herbs, ferns, grasses, shrubs, vines and trees. Each plant species have their own unique growing conditions that allow them to thrive, but sometimes their growth can be hindered due to non-native plants invading. That is why restoration projects are beneficial, being they help keep the native plants alive and well while getting rid of those plants that have the potential to destroy them.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?
Being an environmental studies major, I feel the Introduction to Research Methods class prepared me most for collecting accurate information on the native plants of the Skyline Wilderness Park. The Conservation Biology class gave me just the right amount of experience that allowed me to be of great assistance during the restoration projects of the Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden that I participated in. Previous knowledge of the anatomy of plants from a flowering project that was assigned in the Biological Foundations class also contributed to the success of my internship.

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