So long CLM

This was my favorite botany job yet and unfortunately I am ending it early. Good news is I’ve landed a permanent job after a few years of constant moving about. I will have to incorporate the native plant restoration work into my new position. I enjoyed working with each part of the plant cycle in native plant propagation. I enjoyed collecting seeds, cleaning, storing, and treating seeds, growing them in the greenhouse, and planting them at their final destination restoration site. It was a beautiful experience. But I got out before the summer heat.

Each weekend I jumped on a different trail in the area. What is neat about the Redding BLM and the surrounding area is the amount of recreation. It seems to be the (only) thing to do around here- but it’s a good one. You’ve got the Lassen to the east, Mt. Shasta to the North and the Trinities to the West. It really is a beautiful place.

Besides on the ground restoration work, I developed a restoration handbook for the next seasonal. It includes maps and pictures of the restoration sites and what plants go there, as well as other tips. What I learned in my short time at the Redding BLM is invaluable.

Here are some photos from my stay:

Little buddy hanging out with me in the greenhouse

Little buddy hanging out with me in the greenhouse


buckeye seed

buckeye seed


buckeye seedlings at the greenhouse

buckeye seedlings at the greenhouse

buckeye going in drainage area.

buckeye growing in drainage area.

View of Redding from the bluffs

View of Redding from the bluffs- Sacramento River, Sundial Bridge and the Trinities

Good Things

It is in the 80’s and sunny in Redding and the planting season is coming to an end. There are numerous restoration sites on the district that are old mining sites or other disturbed areas. We are trying to get as many plants in the ground as we can before it dries up more so we don’t have to hold them in the greenhouse over summer. Today we had about 70 middle school kids help plant a gravely hillside. It was great!

I have done some seed collections, weed monitoring, and rare plant monitoring in the field as well.

In the greenhouse we’ve been sowing, transplanting, weeding, watering and straightening up.

At home I have been cleaning seeds and working on extra projects. I hope to leave the office with good reference material for the next seasonal technician. I have made maps of the restoration sites and what plants and seeds to use. I am also making a seed collection guide that includes photos and protocols for various aspects of native plant propagation. I find it hard to work on this at times because there are always plants to be cared for in some way.

This is an amazing job and my boss is super stellar. I have always been enthusiastic about botany and restoration work and I just keep getting more jazzed about it. Grateful to have such a soulful job.

Charter school helping with a planting site

Charter school helping with a planting site




This Job is Just Right!


This is my third CLM internship. Third time’s the charm- this is the most feel good job I have ever had. I am doing native plant propagation at the Redding BLM office. After two wonderful years in Oregon, I am enjoying the sunshine in Northern California.

Instead of cattle or timber, the focus of the office is recreation. I have been working alot in the greenhouse- planting native seeds, weeding, watering and transplanting. The nursery contains anything native- trees, shrubs, sedges, rushes, grasses, and forbs. I also have been processing some skunk bush seeds as homework. Tomorrow, we will be planting some blue oaks at a restoration site.

This is my third week on the job and I am learning so much as I go. I am excited to learn about every aspect of growing plants for restoration projects- from seed collection to propagating to planting. I’m interested in learning the native plants through this process.

Until next time,


This is the greenhouse we share with Happy Valley Elementary School

This is the greenhouse we share with Happy Valley Elementary School



Goodbye internship, Hello mushrooms

My second CLM internship is coming to an end. The internship started with a hiring freeze and uncertainty as to if I was to be hired. It ended with a furlough. During my internship I mostly learned about the timber industry and weed management. I was disappointed with the lack of botany surveys. The office I worked in has contractors complete the botany surveys. I did my best to teach myself the native flora, but most of my work was writing reports, creating a weed management plan for a habitat reserve, and managing weeds throughout the district. It was an awesome experience and I learned a ton. Another highlight was taking a class on Rare and Sensitive Lichens and Bryophytes at the Siskiyou Field Institute. It would not have been possible without help from CLM.

Last weekend I went to the Mushroom Festival at Mt. Pisgah near Eugene, OR. I volunteered at the lichen booth with some other botanists in the area. It was really exciting to see hundreds of specimens, the leading experts in mycology and hundreds of fungi enthusiasts.

I’m not sure what is coming next for me in the botany field. I hope to stick around the area of Eugene/Cottage Grove, OR. I think I’ll spend the winter volunteering and studying lichens, bryophytes and fungi. I’ll leave the vascular plants until next spring. I wonder if CLM has a limit on the number of internships I can do 🙂

Thank you CLM for all the work and education opportunities. Thanks to Krissa and Wes for always being available when I had questions. CLM is truly wonderful!




Weeds and Old Trees

Lots of work related to weeds lately.  I’ve done weed monitoring, weed treatments, and weed management planning. It has been a nice balance between taking action and planning for action.

The weed monitoring was mostly in future timber sale units. They will construct roads and close roads to prepare for all the traffic on the unit so we want to take care of the weeds before they are given the opportunity to spread.

We pulled weeds at campgrounds, along roads while monitoring and at research natural area. The weeds we’ve been working with mostly are Scotch Broom, Reed Canary Grass, Himalayan Blackberry, and Stinky Bob (a geranium).

One interesting day was going out and looking for big old trees for a fuels reduction project. Went to look for “old growth stands”. If it was old growth, we would have to have fungi surveys in the area for the next two years before they could go ahead with the project. To assess if it was old growth we looked to see if there was age class diversity in the trees, multiple stories in the canopy, decaying logs, the litter layer on top of the soil, and big trees that look to be >200 years old.

I am continuing to work on project proposals for weed treatments and working on weed management plan for a 6,500 acres reserve for the Federally endangered Columbia white-tail deer. The project proposal is to remove English Hawthorn, a super weedy tree. I don’t have any pictures this month, but soon I will have to post pictures of the oak savannah and oak woodland habitats in need of some thinning.

Natural Beauty

I am so thrilled with how my internship is going. I am getting familiar with the land, the plants, and the projects at the office. We have been doing a lot of restoration work in natural areas.
One natural area on the district has a threatened lily (Calochortus umpquaensis). I really enjoy this site because you have to go through three locked gates, across clear cuts on private land, and up into a hill top meadow with an incredible view. We were cutting back the encroaching seedlings to improve the habitat.

Ace Williams-the threatened lily location

Another natural area on the district had some Reed Canary Grass present in and around the pond. This forest is really cool because the floor is composed of piles and piles of logs at different stages of decomposition. We brought kayaks down to the pond and removed the invasive grass. There were also a lot of fallen trees in the pond, which was fun to maneuver around. It was a pretty magical day at work.

Red Ponds Research Natural Area- where the Reed Canary Grass is.

A third natural area, and the largest with more than 6,000 acres, needs a lot of work maintaining the oak savannah habitat. I will be taking on a project to write up a weed management plan for this area. We monitored the seed development in the invasive annual Medusa Head grass, to burn at the right stage. A large area was burned before the grass set seed, and after the grass was mature enough that it would not have enough reserves to recover. We collected some medusa head seeds after the burn to test if they were still viable. The area will be seeded in October to avoid being food for wildlife and to catch the winter rains, soon after being sown.

North Bank Habitat Management Area- where the prescribed burns were.

I participated in another educational outreach event. My boss and I introduced a weed project to a group of recent high school graduates. They impressed me so much with their knowledge and experience and super positive work ethics and attitudes. Granted today was the first day. I look forward to hearing about their experience when we catch up at the end of the week.

Looking forward to many more magical days at work.

Until next time,
Caroline Martorano
BLM Roseburg, OR

From the Foothills of the Cascades

This is my first blog of my second CLM internship with the BLM. Last summer I was in Lakeview, OR and I have moved to the other side of the Cascades to the Roseburg District. I have just finished my first full week working directly with the botanist of the Swiftwater Resource Area. I am super excited to learn about everything involved with the timber industry and to be working with plants in such a beautiful area.
This week included a few site visits. The site visits were to check for weeds, follow up on a rare plant conservation project, and plan for a day-lighting project. The first photo I have included is from the day-lighting project site visit. The project is to prepare a road for an upcoming logging operation in order to protect the surrounding environment. The idea is to remove trees to allow more light in in order to decrease the amount of moisture on the roads. The botanist’s role is to make sure there are no special status species in the project area, and to avoid the spread of invasives after the disturbance caused by the day-lighting construction.

My first full week ended with an educational outreach opportunity with a group of 5th graders on a camping trip. Many folks from the office participated in this all-day event. I led an outdoor class on native and non-native plants, and a class on reading maps. It was an awesome experience sharing my love of the outdoors with these kids and I think it was super awesome for the school to provide this educational outdoor adventure for them.
This internship is going to be jam-packed with fun work. I will be working with invasive plants, special status plants, lichen, bryophytes, and fungi, participating in educational outreach opportunities, and more to be determined.

I am so happy, grateful, and excited to be here! Wish all the best to my fellow CLM interns.

Until next time,
Caroline Martorano
BLM Roseburg, OR

Photo from the day-lighting project field visit. Some folks don’t like the rain- but I sure like the lush forest the rain brings!

View from road leading to field site to check for weeds.


Goodbye Lakeview

This is my closing blog post for my range technician CLM internship. I am so incredibly grateful for the experience I have had in Oregon. The internship went above and beyond my expectations.
Buildings, farms, signs, and people from the Midwest were replaced with desert, mountains, dirt roads and cattle in my new setting out West. The nearest big box store was two hours away instead of two miles. It did not take me long to adjust and appreciate my new surroundings. My favorite part was being so close to trails and other outdoor activities. Oregon is such a beautiful place, I just might not leave.
The job itself was not exactly what I anticipated. Being from the Midwest, I don’t think I understood what rangeland was. What I understood was that I was going to be identifying grasses in the rangeland. I didn’t know that I was going to be identifying grasses that had already been eaten by cattle. Besides grass identification and plant monitoring, I learned quite a bit about government agencies and land management. I took a GIS course on ESRI and was able to create a project in hopes of improving the job for the next range tech. I got certified to ride an ATV/UTV, learned how to drive a big manual truck, and the list goes on and on.
Another big part of my experience was the people I met. As many of you are aware, Lakeview, OR had a lot of interns. Most of us lived in two government provided trailers in the parking lot of various government buildings on the south side of town. It was like living in a nature sorority. There was never a dull moment and we went on numerous camping excursions around the area. I did not expect to make so many good friends in such a small town!
After exploring life out west and working in a government agency, I have a better idea of what kind of work I would like to pursue in the future and where. There were opportunities that directly related to the range tech experiences, but I don’t have the underlying interest in range to follow that path. I am hoping that if I could do another internship in a position that more closer related to my interests, opportunities would arise again and in the right direction. I have no definitive plans for after my internship but I am hoping to try for another CLM internship in 2013. Whatever happens, I am excited for the adventures ahead!

Seeds and Such

I took another field trip with my fellow CLMers of Lakeview, OR. We took a day trip to the Bend Seed Extractory. It was super interesting to see the different processes specific to each species of seed. There are many steps involved starting from the arrival and ending with storage or sent off.

As a range intern I have only joined the botany crew a few times to collect seeds, but I have really enjoyed my time collecting seed. I like being able to have a sharp search image for plants and it’s exceptionally sharp for those whose seeds I’ve collected.

As a range intern I have covered a lot of ground in my big white pick up truck. Working in a resource area of 3.2 million acres, I probably drive an average of 200 miles a day. Many times we drive up onto a high ground where we can get beautiful views of the landscape. Last week we saw wild horses. I don’t just drive around all day. We have finished with trend plots and are continuing with compliance checks and utilization. There is also plenty of office work to be done, especially rangeland health assessments.

Lastly, I’d like to apologize for my poor photo taken by a poor photographer with an old camera. The photo is from on top of Hart Mountain overlooking to Warner Wetlands. The mountain in the background is Big Juniper Mountain- I have spent alot of time there the last few months!

new stuff II

It has been more than four months since I arrived in Lakeview and I am continuing to learn all sorts of new things. For a month or so the office revolved around a fire that I could see from the office. This was my first exposure to the fire culture out west.

Out in the field I have continued monitoring and establishing trend plots in the rangeland. I also accompanied the fish and wildlife biologist and a  range specialist doing stream surveys to assess if it is in proper functioning condition. The field season is winding down and there is lots of office work to be done. I have been writing health assessments and updating spreadsheets and will be involved with writing EAs very shortly.

The most exciting work related experience was a tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, OR. Thanks to Tommy Esson, a big group of people in the surrounding areas were able to learn about the types of wildlife crimes committed and how the lab goes about cracking cases. I was really impressed by the advancement in the instruments they use.

It feels as though this is the home stretch in the internship. Some folks have already moved on, which makes me sad. The CLM interns are some of the coolest people I have ever met and hope to stay in touch in the future. This experience would not have been such a blast without them!