Since my last CLM blog this past October, the site’s traffic has plummeted and the servers have been gathering dust. I have decided to take on the CLM Internship once again so that I may blog about my experiences and appease my horde of botanically-inclined fans. In short, I am back by popular demand.
This year, I have decided to take my talents to the Prineville BLM in Central Oregon. The drive out from Chicago was tiring, as usual. I brought my dad (who hasn’t been on vacation for nearly 10 years) with me to witness the beauty of the West again. During each tank-up, he windexed bug splatter off my windshield so that he could take clear pictures of the land along the way. Fortunately for us, we got to stop and explore too. After unpacking my belongings in Prineville, we visited Crater Lake National Park, drove down to California and saw the redwoods, then took the 101 all the way up the coast
to Cannon Beach before going to Portland. I explained to my dad, who is very much still a Polish immigrant, what a hipster is. It was such a culture shock for him to see skinny, bearded, flannel-shirted, beanie-donning guys riding around on unicycles, double-decker bikes, or using an antique typewriter at a cafe – although I’ll admit that last one was a shock for me too. He called them “hippos”.
The views were beautiful, the beer was good, and the Subarus were plenty, but now it was time to drop dad off at the airport and head back to Prineville to get some work done. I’ve been working for about two weeks now. There were a lot of formalities during the first few days: paperwork, necessary vehicle training, getting my workstation set up, and meeting many of the fine folks that I’ll share this space with. I am helping my mentor, Anna, prepare for our monitoring plan this season. To do this, I have been ordering equipment, testing sensors to make sure they are calibrated correctly, and using GIS to identify candidate sites for field visits and ultimately selection as part of a permanent monitoring program. The protocols we’ll be employing are called AIM (Assessment Inventory and Monitoring) and MIM (Multiple Indicator Monitoring) of streamside channels and streamside vegetation. They are used to collect data to determine ecosystem health. From there, the BLM adjusts its land management and resource allocation to make sure short- and long-term objectives are being met.
We’ll be in Utah for two weeks in mid-May for AIM training and then for one week in Prineville for MIM. That’s a lot of learning right there – but I’m excited for it. So far I haven’t had the chance to actually get out into the field. I’m at a standing desk in front of dual computer monitors in a cubicle right now And I’m tall so I see a sea of cubicles just like it but when Jessica (my fellow CLM-er and roomie) gets here next Monday, things will pick up and we’ll actually be outside so much that I hope we get sick of it. And I’ll be identifying everything as I usually do. And I’ll have beeee-autiful pictures to share with all of you, my devoted fans.
Thank you CLM for another awesome opportunity to learn and grow. I’m excited to work hard this summer and hopefully make some friends along the way!