First Week Down!

The Humboldt Bay Wallflower (Erysimum menziesii eurekensii) holding on in the dunes! This species is unique to the Humboldt bay dune system! photo credit: Jennifer Wheeler

Little pops of color in the dunes! photo credit: Jennifer Wheeler

Working on a dune transect, most likely counting Layia carnosa, also known as beach layia. photo credit: Jennifer Wheeler

Greetings from Arcata, CA! I’ve just finished up my first week at the BLM office here, and it has been a blast!

First off, just a mere two weeks ago my dad and I began the long trek from New Hampshire to California. Before this internship, I had never been west of the Mississippi, so it was a real treat to get to drive across the country!

My first week at the office mostly consisted of paperwork and meetings and getting through all of the necessary trainings. Then, I got the chance to be a judge at a local science fair, and saw some cool projects coming from the next generation of scientists!

Finally, near the end of the week, we got started on some dune surveys! Northern CA has massive dune systems stretching up & down its coastline. Like many other ecosystems, the dunes have been under attack from invasive species and human activity for quite some time. In recent years the BLM, along with other local organizations, has led an effort to restore them. Most of my botanical experiences so far have been forestry-related, so I’ll admit that the surveys have been challenging (shout out to my sponsor, Jennifer Wheeler, for being so patient!) but fascinating at the same time. The longer you look at the sand, more and more little dune flora pop out at you. And this year, because of all of the rain, the dune wildflowers are really putting on a show!

I’m looking forward to getting more settled into my position here – everyone at the office has been very friendly and welcoming, and more than happy to give this east-coast transplant advice! I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, and plan to learn as much as I possibly can about the BLM & the ecosystems out here before I go!

Madie