William Blake wrote, “To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.” I think seeds are infinity in the palm of our hands. This poem glorifies my seed collecting endeavors of the summer! And now the days are getting colder and a little darker here in the far North, and snow has begun to dust the tops of the peaks, known locally to botanists as Termination Dust. Uh oh for summer and seeds!
First snow on the Talkeetna Range
Though my time with the Chicago Botanic Garden is winding down, I will be staying here and continue to work for the BLM office and University of Alaska Anchorage’s Natural Heritage Program through November! I’m happy to have the opportunity to continue being part of this project, to see the seed season and all data through. What a grand experience!
This has been one of the fullest summers I’ve ever had. The diversity of my experience has been incredible, far exceeding any expectations I had of my internship. I’ve flown over the stunning Brooks Range of Alaska, stood at the feet of glaciers, watched grizzlies grazing on meadow sedges and grasses, and recently collected seeds for the future environmental restoration of the largest working Platinum placer mine in North America. That was quite a seed rescue mission!
Our work team and a mining dredge from the '30s
Seeds in a Lupinus nootkatensis pod
Grazing female Grizzly! mmmmm
Collecting Lupine pods near the Canada/Alaska border
And I’ve met people working on an incredible variety of projects in offices/field stations all over the state; I am continuously inspired by the work BLM and other agencies are doing up here. Due to its immensity and landscape diversity, Alaska is an incredible place to monitor, conserve, study, and manage. I am euphorically, gloriously lucky to be here working!
Additionally, I’ve learned a language this summer, with beautiful words like Chamerion angustifolium, Leymus mollis, Androsace septentrionalis, Gentianella propinqua, Artemisia dranunculus, Calamagrostis purpurascens, Potentilla bimundorum, and Angelica lucida. And then there are names like Cnidium cnidifolim var. cnidifolium!
Picking Dogwood berries... some how white berries aren't appetizing
Seed pod of Fireweed, Chamerion angustifolium
All I can say now, at the end of my CLM internship, is THANK YOU for such a spectacular experience.
—-Emily Capelin, budding botanist