This summer I learned the importance of diversity. Not only in biological communities, but in human communities as well. One of the points of my project was that we need diverse ecosystems because they’re resilient, highly functional, and ultimately, can adapt in the face of challenges better than a homogenous community can.
This project was also full of challenges, but I was lucky to be a member of an extremely diverse community here at the Morton Arboretum. I worked alongside my fellow URFs and scientists each answering unique questions about interactions within the natural world in our own ways. Whenever I found my way of thinking or approaching a problem wasn’t working, I was able to turn to my community for support.
I believe that conclusions we draw studying biology make us not only more in tune with our environment, but also with ourselves and each other. This summer, my attempts to understand biodiversity in the East Woods have left me not only a better understanding of forest communities and ecology, but my own role in my community. I don’t think a single species such as myself could have adapted to all of the challenges this project threw at me. I needed systemists, forest ecologists, computer scientists, botanists. The list goes on as the scope of this project expands! The quality and conclusions of my project have been broader than I had imagined they would extend coming into this, thanks to the diversity of perspectives around me.
I feel so lucky to have been part of such an amazing community this summer!