A Fairwell to Lakeview

This post is unfortunately my last, as our internship has come to an end. Much has transpired in the weeks since my last post and I promise to catch you up before I depart. One major detail of our ending was the exit of our mentor, Ian Grinter. After three short (yet inspiring and informational) months with Ian, he left for Alaska to embark on a new chapter of his career. We are all very excited for his new opportunity. As for Kayla and myself, we carried on as usual.

We were able to make a few more collections as our season came to a close. In total, we made 32 collections. One fun collection made at the end of our season was Spiraea douglasii. The location (Silver Creek) of the collection was surprisingly beautiful and we made out with an ample amount of seed.


Silver Creek in Silver Lake, Oregon


Silver Creek in Silver Lake, Oregon


Silver Creek in Silver Lake, Oregon

At the end of our last full week, Kayla and I were given the opportunity to visit the Bend Seed Extractory. We pulled up with a truckload of seeds and anticipatory excitement. I was shown how hard everyone at the extractory worked in comparison to how much seed they processed, and to the size of the establishment. Everyone who worked there was extremely knowledgeable and kind.


The equipment used to clean the seeds we all send to the extractory.


Screens for seed and excess material separation.

Another excitement came before our takeoff, the arrival of Flora of Oregon. We were all very excited to read through this new volume, not to mention admire the beautiful cover art.



Outside of work, the festivities in the town carried on as usual. The next festival in town was the Lake County Fair. The fair came around with a bang and was a joy to everyone. One main attraction, that I personally loved, was the Lake County Round-up. This was my first rodeo, and it left me very impressed. Although shocking at first, I learned the horses were trained for years to put on such a show and saw how skilled the riders were as the competition continued.


The rodeo with a beautiful backdrop.

On my last day at the Lakeview BLM, I was sent to the Rockbottom Nursery outside of Bonanza, Oregon. My mission was to pick up an assortment of plants and take them to their new homes at the Union Elementary School greenhouse. The nursery, which specializes in growing native species, had an accompanying koi pond and horse stable. In addition to the beauty of the farm, its owners made a lasting impression and my final day one to remember.


The nursery at Rockbottom Nursery


Rockbottom Nursery


Rockbottom Nursery


Rockbottom Nursery


Rockbottom Nursery

For my last post I leave you with my favorite room at the BLM…


Lakeview herbarium


Lakeview herbarium

And a look into my loop…



Erin Berkowitz

Lakeview BLM


Greetings from Lakeview! I write today in the midst of a town festival. Although Lakeview is small in size, it’s large in celebration. Today’s festival is called Occupy E Street. The entertainment list boasts a car show, BBQ, and several local vendor booths. The streets are buzzing with people and the music choices are an auditory delight. Today is a lovely day off, yet I find myself continuing to think about plants.

So far we have made 26 SOS collections. It has been a successful few months of SOS work as well as other tasks performed for the BLM office. Another one of my favorite collections has been of Eriogonum heracleoides (parsnipflower buckwheat).


A mix of Eriogonum species at Sagehen Butte. Heracleoides has an orange top in this photo at its current stage in the life cycle.

What makes this species differ from its counterparts is the whorle of oblanceolate leaves surrounding the middle part of the stem.


View from Sagehen

This is a photograph of another expanded view from Sagehen Butte. In the distance Camas Creek runs through the valley and Fish Creek rim is off in the far left center.

Next I would like to take you to one of my (and Kayla’s) favorite places in Lake County. Introducing:


The Devil’s Garden

The Devil’s Garden is an ominous basalt bed north of Lakeview. Here we collected Chamaebatiaria millefolium (desert sweet) aka fern bush.

We also spent two days here caving for signs of bats and potential bat habitat. An issue for bats in the northeast to central United States is called white-nose syndrome. This is a fungus responsible for impacting the lives of millions of hibernating bats in this country. Healthy potential bat habitats are pertinent to the livelihood of this species.


Here Kayla and another tech climb out of a cave that was surveyed on our first outing.

In other news, Crater Lake National Park is only 113 miles from Lakeview, so we took an impromptu trip a few weeks ago to visit beautiful Crater Lake.


A view of the lake and Wizard Island from the rim of Crater Lake.

Crater Lake formed from the eruption of Mount Mazama around 7,700 years ago and created this amazing caldera. Today it is filled with fresh rainwater and has no entry from any other water sources like creeks or streams. It is one of the freshest bodies of water in the world.

The excursion was an experience of a lifetime. I recommend this site to anyone who has the chance to visit.

This time, I leave you all with a cute photo of a horny toad that Kayla and I found in the field.


Until next time,







Forbs for Thought

Hey there,

It’s Erin checking in from Lakeview, this time with a few visuals. So far, I have been working in Oregon for about two months. Lakeview surely hasn’t changed since my arrival, but my outlook on the surrounding landscape has. As for the town, I have been exploring more and have come across the little things that make Lakeview standout. Although it’s not a big city with great diversity or numerous places of local commerce, this makes room for its own quirky spots and artwork.


Here is a sign advertising Lakeview as the “tallest town in Oregon.”


I stumbled upon this quaint piece of artwork in a surely unvisited alleyway in town.


As for the surrounding landscape, I have rounded up cattle trailers full of information on local flora, fauna, and landforms that makeup the “outback.” Since my first week at the BLM we have made a total of 12 collections, including the beautiful Astragalus lentiginosus.


Astragalus lentiginosus (Freckled Milkvetch)

As well as collections, we have made plenty of optimistic vouchers. One of my favorites is the complementary colored and charming Calchortus macrocarpus.


Calchortus macrocarpus (Mariposa Lilly)

A few of my favorite species that we’ve stumbled upon are in the Polemoniaceae and Asclepiadaceae families.


Linanthus ciliatus (Wickerbrush)


Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed)


Asclepias fascicularis (Narrow Leaf Milkweed)

A few notable activities since I have started: Visiting Bend, Oregon for a very informative  grass workshop under the Carex Working Group, and the vehicle rodeo put on by the BLM to test our driving skills.


Vehicle Rodeo at the Lake County Fairgrounds


Grass workshop in Bend

Although the local forbs and artwork have left me wide eyed and breezy, the tempestuous weather the past two weeks has been quite the challenge in the field- starting with temperatures above 100 degrees last week, to the thunderous rain of this week, and ending in a dust storm last night- has combined to create an awe inspiring finish to the week.


A rainbow over the Warner Mountains.



Small Town Life in Lakeview, Oregon

On May 16th I left the city of Santa Barbara for my internship located in Lakeview, Oregon. Within five minutes of arriving in Lakeview, I was already driving out of the opposing side.  As you can guess, this is a very small town, a size that is unfamiliar to me. After getting over the initial shock of being trapped in a scattered population of 2,200 people in southeastern Oregon, I began to accept the beauty of small town life and the surrounding landscapes. I quickly knew this would be a wonderful learning experience, not only in the realm of Biology.

I officially started work for the Seeds of Success program at the Lakeview District BLM on Friday, May 26th. The staff and interns were extremely welcoming and I felt comfort right off the bat. After the paperwork was filled out, myself and the other intern, Kayla, were able to start learning Botany. The Botanist we are working under took us out in the field to test our knowledge and teach us about the local flora. Since the first few days at the BLM, we have collected seeds for the program, species of plants for the herbarium, and have gotten the chance to sample burn sites for RNA (Research Natural Areas).

I am excited for the great deal of knowledge and adventures in the coming months. Since I have only experienced two weeks of the internship, there will a lot more information to share in future blogs, along with photos of the town and its natural surrounding diversity.