Wow, so much to catch up on. Field season is in full swing. Running between monitoring, meetings, and trainings this internship is flying by.
I’ve been fortunate to work with the Institute of Applied Ecology (IAE) quite a bit this past month. They are a local nonprofit whose mission is to “conserve native species and habitats through restoration, research, and education.” The Upper Willamette Resoure Area botanist has agreements with IAE to perform some of the restoration and monitoring work throughout our resource area. Some species of focus have been Bureau sensitive species Lathyrus holochlorus, Sisyrinchium hitchcockii, Frasera umpquensis, Horkelia congesta ssp congesta, as well as the federally listed threatened species Lupinus sulphureus ssp. Kincaidii.
Some restoration activities IAE has so far implemented to benefit these species are mechanical removal of trees and shrubs to expand meadows and prevent encroachment, burning of invasive grasses to limit their cover and spread, removal of invasive species such as Scotch broom, false brome, and blackberry, and post activity seeding with native seed (including seed collected through Seeds of Success!!). At one site, restoration activities included tree removal or girdling between meadows to make corridors for the federally listed Fender’s blue butterfly who uses the Lupinus sulphureus ssp. Kincaidii (Kincaid’s lupine) as a host plant.
Monitoring of these projects often includes a complete census of the population or a variety of quantitative sampling, such as density or cover. Although monitoring can be disheartening if plant populations are declining, we have seen some remarkable progress resulting from the restoration activities at one of the Sisyrinchium hitchcockii where the population has increased and now covers an area approximately 4 times larger than before restoration took place.
In addition to field monitoring, the past month has been packed full of training and workshops. Beginning with Chicago Botanic Garden’s Conservation and Land Management Internship Training Workshop in June and continuing in Southern Oregon at the Siskiyou Field Institutes Graminoid Identification Course, I’m beginning to feel more and more confident working in the realm of Botany and understanding the important role that federal land management agencies and their partners play in the conservation of plant communities.
One major event happening in my internship this week is the retirement of my mentor, Cheshire Mayrsohn. Congrats Cheshire! I want to say thank you for your time, patience, imparting of your expertise, and ceaseless guidance. The information and experiences you have shared with me are invaluable and I will carry them forward with me throughout my career.