I’ve been doing this in WY for 5 weeks now and having fun! I get to hike around beautiful country looking for plants. It’s nice to use the training I received in school in a professional forum and it’s fun to learn about new plants. The SOS program is somewhat unorganized and I was left to handle a lot of logistics and details that would have taken less time if they had been done before my arrival. For instance I had to formulate the target plant list myself, and not being from Wyoming, I am not familiar with the plants yet. I had to do all the research on the plants, i.e. species description, phenology, location and range, including finding resources with this information. I also had to come up with a list of supplies and coordinate the purchasing of them. As a result we likely missed some of the earlier seedling plants. But the internship as a whole is very fun and everyone I met has been incredibly nice.

my final reflective blog

My internship was a botany internship with the BLM WY in Lander. The goal was to conduct Seeds of Success collections and to create an herbarium collection for the office so they would have reference material. In addition to completing those tasks, I was also able to provide a huge amount of map data work for the office. This office had not ever had a botanist, and their data was unmaintained and challenging to use. I was able to not only collect a large amount of data last summer, but I was also able to organize the offices current data, and then some. With the help of the GIS specialist, I created two geodatabases that are easily usable and can incorporate all future data collection, both in-house and 3rd party. The big concern was that there were surveys that resulted in negative data that were never incorporated, and as a result, many areas were being surveyed multiple times. So they needed a way to show all areas of known locations AND any areas that resulted in negative data so that resources were not being wasted in duplicate surveys. I was able to provide this for them, and I believe that they are very grateful.

The field work that I did last season was also very rewarding. Being a native of the northest megalopolis, it was refreshing to see the vast open spaces that WY has to offer. And the serenity fed my soul.

I will miss WY and the people that I have come to know in the office here. This experience has not only allowed me to see beautiful country and make new friends, but it has also assisted me in making decisions about my future and career goals. My life and my person are better for it, and I encourage anyone to participate in this program.

Mapping and staying warm

Now that field season is over, I am doing a lot of mapping and even helped the state office with a map of all SOS collections for the state. I’ve also been fortunate to be sent to some wonderful training workshops: Restoration of Sagebrush Ecosystems in Boise, ID & LANDIS-II forest modeling software training in Portland, OR. They’ve been great learning experiences and a lot of fun!

Interning it up

With field season over, I am getting to join in with other members of the office in their field work and experience what a federal employee does. I got to see a wild horse round-up which was very interesting, and quite a procedure – helicopters and all! There is also lots of data organization and computer stuff to do, but that’s all part of working in a digital world. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Field season winding down

Field season in Lander, WY is winding down – just some sagebrush seeds to collect now…and lots of data work. This internship was great fun, providing valuable experience & contacts, and amazing hikes through our priceless public lands. If only I could make this my career!

collecting threatened plants

This month I collected a threatened plant for the herbarium collection I am starting at the BLM Lander, WY field office. I collected one Yermo xanthocephalus, the desert yellowhead, whose only natural population(s) in the world exists here in Fremont County, WY (and yes, I did obtain a permit from USFWS to do this, as is required). I felt real bad about digging up the plant and pressing it, but I keep reminding myself that this if for scientific reference material and many people will be able to observe this plant now without disturbing the population.