Do you remember….a busy September!

Verbesina enceloides collecting

Well, at this point in the year, many other CLM interns are wrapping up their internship. However here in the Chihuahuan Desert, our seed season is just beginning to ramp up. Usually the desert has a monsoon season with heavy rains in the summer, but this year the monsoons came in August, which is later than normal. We were able to watch the desert transform practically overnight from the dry, dusty landscape to bursts of blooms. In particular, we have been seeing a TON of Verbesina enceloides. We were also able to make some other fun collections this month like Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow), Gaillardia pinnatafida, and Thelsperma megapotacium.

Desert Willow collection site with the Guadalupe Mountains in the background

Luckily these collections were in beautiful locations in the foothills of the Guadalupe Mountains! The grasses around here like Aristida purpurea, Bouteloua curtipendula, Setaria leucopia, and Sporobolus airoides have been seeding lately as well.

 

Me next to my poster at the New Mexico Native Plants Converence

Earlier this month, we were able to attend the New Mexico Native Plant Society Conference in Silver City, NM. This was a weekend of fun, learning, and meeting lots of people who care deeply about the environment and native plants. We were able to present posters about some of our projects as Seeds of Success interns during the informational sessions. There were also field trips where we were able to see more of southwest New Mexico. Silver City is located conveniently close to the Gila National Forest and City of Rocks State Park, which were full of diverse plant species – and some I recognized from the Chihuahuan desert!

City of Rocks State Park

Another highlight of the trip was getting to meet our peers working in different Seeds of Success programs around the state.

Rainbow over the Gila to close out the first night of the conference!

We are now about half way through our internship, so I’m excited to see what these next couple of months in Carlsbad have in store for us!

 

 

 

 

-LMS

Carlsbad Field Office, Bureau of Land Management

Alien planet or Chihuahuan Desert?

July 30, 2018

Two weeks ago, I packed up my belongings and moved across the country from Illinois, where I have called home for most of my life. With my dad’s help I drove all the way to

Carlsbad, New Mexico to begin my internship. As we drove, I watched the landscape change from the lush greenery of the Midwest to the dry scrub of the desert. I found myself wondering what kind of desolate place I was going to be living in for the next five months. Truly, it felt like I had traveled to some kind of post-apocalyptic, dystopian world. Nothing like home.

In our first week of work, we hit the ground running and started collecting seeds. I have so many new plants to learn! Collecting seed is tough work, both mentally and

physically. Especially in 100 degree heat. But, it was rewarding to come back to the office with a pile of seeds after all that hard work. I was also impressed and surprised to

learn that there were so many different plant species in the area where we were collecting. Before, I just saw a bunch of scrubby plants and dirt. Now, when I look at the landscape, I see diversity. Now, a week after that first collection day and with several more collections under my belt, I am starting to feel more confident with this work

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After a couple weeks here, I am gaining an appreciation for the desert and the incredible tenacity of the flora and fauna that inhabit it. I am learning to look for beauty, like the bright splash of a cactus flower against a big blue sky. I am finding vivacity in the oasis that desert streams provide. Though Carlsbad may be different from the home I’ve known in the Midwest, I am excited for this adventure and to continue exploring this unusual area!

 

-LMS

Carlsbad Field Office, Bureau of Land Management