Today I leave the plants, people, mountains, and place I have grown to know and love over the past eight months. Before the beginning of June, when I first started my CLM internship, I had never set foot within New Mexico. But the blind faith of wanting to work in a new place, and in the southwest, paid off. I feel very lucky to have been able to live and work in Santa Fe, NM.
My guiding goal when I set out on this adventure was to immerse myself in a new flora. I feel I achieved that goal thoroughly, as well as gathered many other benefits and fuel to guide me on my next adventure. The slow act of gathering seeds from wild plants also really helped some principles of plant biology to sink deep into my brain and bones!
One of the best aspects of my internship were the people. My mentor, Zoe, was there to support me on my very first day when someone tried to steal my car, and she was incredibly helpful at the end of my internship when I was searching for my next position. Ella, the other CLM intern at my field office, has been the best field partner, roommate, and friend that I could have possibly imagined. Not to mention all of the many other excellent people I had the chance to work with and learn from!
Besides being part of a stellar team that made 100 collections for SOS, I also had the opportunity to dip into the world of rare plants, including monitoring Townsendia gypsophila, a plant that occurs in just a small band in one county of New Mexico.
After a long field season, mounting and organizing plants for the UNM herbarium and a new herbarium at the New Mexico State Office was a great way to cement my knowledge of the local flora. Following are a few of my favorite grass species:
From summer monsoons to winter snow, from Chihuahuan desert to Southern Rockies, from red chile to green chile, from Bouteloua gracilis to Ipomopsis sancti-spiritus — thank you New Mexico!
Laura Holloway, BLM New Mexico State Office