I have been working at the BLM State Office in Cheyenne, Wyoming since May. Having moved to the United States from Italy just a year and a half ago, this has been a unique opportunity for me to get to know this part of the country.
Rush hour in Wyoming
Since I got started here, I have divided my time between working with the Botany Lead and the Threatened & Endangered Species Coordinator. My main project has been the revision of the Wyoming BLM Sensitive Species List. This list involves both rare plants and animals found on BLM lands that are declining or occur in a vulnerable and threatened habitat. The purpose of this list is to maintain these species and their habitat in BLM ecosystems and to make sure that the Sensitive Species are considered in land management decisions. This level of protection also helps prevent future listing of these rare species under the Endangered Species Act. My work was to gather information about the status of the species included in the current list and check if they still need to be designated as Sensitive under the criteria of the BLM Sensitive Species Policy. In addition, other species were considered for inclusion or removal, based on recent information. This project gave me the chance to learn about the characteristics, habitat, and status of these species. One of the things I enjoyed most was the opportunity to study Wyoming wildlife. My background is in plants, so learning about animals like bats, prairie dogs and raptors and how they are protected was a new and interesting experience for me.
I also got a chance to go to the Wyoming Native Plant Society meeting in Green River, Wyoming. We spent two days hiking to locate endemic species. The highlight of the meeting came on the second day when we hiked near Lander to look for a rare plant called Barnaby’s Clover. We were excited to see it in such good shape, since this species is not found anywhere else in the world outside this valley!
Barneby's Clover - Trifolium barnebyi
Like many other CLM interns, I also worked on the Seeds of Success program. In the spring I was involved in the first stages of the 2009 seed collection, which included choosing the target species, finding their locations in Wyoming, and taking plant specimens. Later in the summer I participated in the actual collection of the seeds. Most of the species that we needed aren’t found in the Cheyenne area so I got to travel a little bit to other parts of the State. I saw some really beautiful and scenic landscapes, like the Commissary Ridge area north of Kemmerer, Wyoming. The seeds we were collecting there were from the White Bark Pine. This tree species is found mostly in the western part of the state and is threatened by the White Pine Blister Rust and the Mountain Pine Beetle.
Whitebark Pine seed collection
In addition to my work at the BLM, I have also enjoyed living in Cheyenne. It is the biggest town in Wyoming and it gets really busy in July when people come from all over the country for Cheyenne Frontier Days. During this event, I got to spend one afternoon at the BLM stand giving a botany presentation. And of course I couldn’t miss the famous Frontier Days rodeo.
Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo
Lorenzo Ferrari, Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office, Cheyenne, WY