When most people think of Nevada they think of Las Vegas. Coming from the Midwest I had a similar impression. However over the last six months my thoughts on Nevada have certainly changed. Throughout the course of my internship I have seen a diverse amount of plants and ecosystems. From the ancient Bristlecone pines of the White Mountains to the surreal colonies of Joshua Trees scattered throughout the desert to the south. I’ve been places where the earth is blackened by seasonal fires and hot springs lush with wild sunflowers. In addition to working in such unique environments, I have received a decent amount of training and gained valuable work experience. I was fortunate to attend the annual Rare Plant conference in Las Vegas and learned a great deal about how plants become listed as threatened or endangered. My taxonomic skills as well as mastery of GIS have also greatly increased. I am extremely thankful to have been a part of the CLM program. While I will soon be returning to farm fields of the heartland, I know what I have seen and learned here will stay with me as a botanist for the rest of my days.
I’ve been in Carson City for four months now. This past week I have been doing weed monitoring at sites where there has been fires in previous years. This involves a lot of hiking. It was a pleasant surprise that most of the fire sites we observed were weed free and the native vegetation seemed to coming back in full force. I really enjoyed hiking amongst the wild tobacco and perennial grasses. Due to the vastness of the various fires, it was more effective to camp. My team and had a pleasant evening camping amongst the large pines near the Indian Creek Reservoir. Overall, it has been good work.
I finished up school in Illinois in May. Shortly there after I moved to Carson City Nevada. The desert is certainly very different from the lush forest of Southern Illinois or the Oak Savannas of Chicagoland. While I certainly miss the big trees of my home state, I am learning to appreciate the natural beauties of Nevada. So far I have seen some cool looking Eriogonum and Poppies. My crew has been doing a lot of post-fire monitoring which I like because it really improves my plant identification skills and gives me more experiencing mapping and using GIS. Everyone I work with is very friendly and interesting. My mentor has also been very helpful and is extremely knowledge about our local environment. I am excited and curious about what the future holds for the next five months!