As I write I am starting my second to last week here at the Grants Pass Interagency Office. Kiki and I have completed her FRGE field collection and so have finished going out in the field together. She is stuck in the office while I tag along with whoever needs help in the field.
Kiki and I had one last FRGE visit to do before we went to ESA and it was a wonderful day! The weather was nice and the views were pretty. We walked along a dry creek bed full of dragonflies and through a pleasant oak woodland. Our site itself was inside a stand of Ceanothus cuteanus, which wasn’t very pleasant. But we ate lunch on a decommissioned road under the pines and doug firs. It was a nice day! I’ve really enjoyed visiting rare plant sites with Kiki, we’ve had a great time. I’ll certainly miss exploring the backcountry with her!
Kiki and I started our internship in March so we didn’t attend the training in Chicago. Instead, we went to the Ecological Society of America conference last week! It was in sunny Ft Lauderdale, Florida! Except it wasn’t so sunny, which turned out to be a blessing because it was still horrifically hot and humid. But we had a great time! There’s so much interesting research going on all around the world, it makes me really excited to go on to graduate school!
With our FRGE work done Kiki and I are sometimes enlisted to help with seed collection. The Medford district is huge and very diverse, so there is no shortage of seed to be collected here! Our Botany crew can knock out a collection in a few hours, easy!
This week I got to help with a trash cleanup project in a place called Reeve’s Creek. People dump their trash here instead of taking it to the dump because it’s cheaper to just throw trash away on BLM land. But it’s also incredibly disgusting. As we were picking up the huge amount of trash in one of the drainages on the side of the road, I wondered if the people knew that some poor intern was going to have to clean up their huge mess one day. Or that their habit of dumping on public lands is a really awful one. Do they feel guilty, I wondered? Do they have trouble sleeping? We packed up four overflowing truck-beds worth of trash and we barely made a dent. Do they know how we suffer when we’re cleaning up their mess? Anyway, it was an awful experience. But my boss Mr Wender said that without suffering we’d never know when we were experiencing happiness. This may seem dramatic but honestly, a few hours of picking up a huge amount of household trash in the hot hot heat is not fun! I would not recommend it!
Anyway, this week I’ll be saying goodbye to Queen Nasty herself, Kiki Fahey. We were the dream team this summer. I never dared to hope that I’d get along so well with the person I’d be spending my work days with, but we have so much fun together! Whether it’s playing basketball with grapes or cherry tomatoes where the hoops are our mouths, singing along with Drake or Janelle Monae or Kiki’s fave Down with the Sickness, or laughing at jokes that are questionable at best, we always had a great time. I’m sad to see her go but I know she’ll do excessively well in her masters program at Northwestern.
Next week is my last week. It doesn’t seem real, but I’m excited to be going to home see my family and to have some time to focus on looking at graduate schools!
Anyway, it’s been a hoot and a half!