The Herbarium

This was my first week as a seeds of success intern at the BLM office in Rawlins Wyoming. It was a rainy week, but a good one none the less. I’ve learned a lot about what I’ll be doing this summer and did a lot of preparation for a busy field season.

I do not have a strong background in botany, so when I came out here I didn’t know any of the native plants in the area. Therefore, learning the local plants has been both a challenge and an incredible opportunity for learning and personal growth. One of the most helpful tools for learning about the local plants has been the office herbarium.

For those of you who don’t know an herbarium is a carefully organized and verified collection of pressed plants. Unlike dichotomous keys or guidebooks an herbarium allows one to learn about plants simply by looking at real pressed plant specimens collected from a variety of different locations over many different years. It is the simplest way to learn plants and, in my opinion, the next best thing to seeing plants in the field.

In combination with personal instruction, guidebooks and online resources the herbarium has helped me to learn more about the native plants in the area; a process that I believe will be one of the most rewarding parts of my internship experience. Furthermore, adding voucher specimens to both the local herbarium as well as the rocky mountain herbarium, and the Smithsonian herbarium is exciting. I not only have the opportunity to utilize this powerful resource I will also add to it and help future researchers to learn about and identify plants. I believe that using and adding to the herbarium will be an incredibly meaningful experiences of this internship.

Don’t worry I didn’t spend my whole first couple of weeks here in Rawlins sitting inside in the herbarium. I also had the opportunity to go to the field and see some of the beautiful landscapes, plants and animals in the area. Here are some pictures from this past week:

Above is a picture of a Lomatium sp. Likely L. foeniculaceum, that I saw an an overlook of the Seminoe reservoir in Sinclair, WY.

An orange Indian paintbrush (the Wyoming state flower), also at an overlook of the Seminoe reservoir in Sinclair, WY.

A view in the Medicine bow park near Arlington, WY.

Thanks reading! Until next time!