This month in southeastern New Mexico has reminded me of the tenacity of life by displays of brilliance in what many would consider an arid wasteland. I am grateful for each of these moments and their valuable lessons…
I hope that everyone else’s internship is progressing positively. Mind the summer heat.
This week was off to a good start as I returned from the CLM Workshop feeling energized about the field work (and super happy to be away from poison ivy and ticks!).
The view out the window as we begun the descent into Hobbs, NM. If you look close, you’ll catch the moon. Feelings were mixed… A return to a familiar place that isn’t quite home.
Monday saw Linum allredii seed collecting, which required a healthy dose of hiking in terrain. I’m still trying to get used to the frequent changes in elevation as I’m from plains country, but the sights were spectacular.
Trekking to the site
View from atop a hill near the collection site. It was a few hours into the collection that I stopped to take in this landscape. Regret I didn’t pay attention sooner.
Tuesday was an office day, familiarizing ourselves with our targets and where to find them, then scouting on Wednesday. That was where we came across this horse crippler…
Today involved cross-training with the archaeology crew, which was pretty great. We hiked 8 miles along a fence line proposed for re-constructing. Temperature was 104F; the heat is reminiscent of home, so I like it. I tried to look for artifacts, but I mostly looked for plants… There were so many hills…
Every hill we crested, the next was taunting us in the distance…
Was admiring my favorite forb (Hoffmannseggia glauca) when I spotted a hopper pal doing the same.
All in all, a great past couple of weeks. But Alex is tired and going back to Texas… At least for the weekend.
I didn’t have many expectations of what my internship in the BLM Carlsbad Field Office would be like as I left Texas. My first week still had some pretty exciting ( and some not-so-exciting) adventures!
South of the office field day. I had to stop and look up occasionally to soak up this view!
Safety first! Two whole days of safety training/ driver training/ getting to know the office… Very important if nothing else! And I learned a thing or two in the process. I even drove this giant truck on some not-so-developed country roads (eek!). Everyone in the vehicle survived (I like to think) because I did my safety training.
Later in the week we made it out into the field a bit. The first outing was to learn the procedure for conducting rangeland plot surveys. There are plots that have been established for monitoring, and we will be specifically examining effects of grazing by sampling pre-season and post-season forbs and grasses. There also might be time to collect pronghorn fecal samples!!
Yesterday we spent the day exploring the range of an endemic species of flax (Linum allredii) that has only been found to occur on a single ridge line thus far. That was pretty great! I got to meet a rare plant and also get introduced to some of the plants I’ll be working with later in the season (and their look-alikes!).
Trekkng through the landscape as we searched for L. allredii
The plant of interest for Thursday. (The waterproof phone case had trapped moisture that didn’t agree with the heat; sorry about the quality)
This week I’ve met new plants, revisited a few familiar ones, learned driving and navigation skills, and safety, safety, safety! Though the official assignment is seed collecting with SOS, these exercises are helping us distinguish local flora so we can hit the ground running with seed collecting!