The month of December was full of preparation with completing the Seeds of Success Annual Report for 2012 and organizing herbarium voucher specimens from the years 2008 to 2012. After having sent the herbarium specimens to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C, I have processed and prepared more than 100 duplicate herbarium vouchers to be sent to other Colorado herbaria. This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Herbarium where Tim Hogan and Dina Clark are the Botany Collection Managers. I was excited to have the chance to see such an extensive collection of fine and extraordinary plant specimens. Next week, I will be preparing the next collection of specimens to be sent to the Denver Botanic Gardens Herbarium Database.
Over 60 hebarium vouchers (from 2010) to process and send to the University of Colorado at Boulder
Completed folders containing years 2008 to 2012 duplicate herbarium vouchers.
BLM (Colorado State Office)
My time is at an end here at the Carson City District Office. It’s bittersweet because I have enjoyed my time here in western Nevada, but I am moving on to Moab, Utah to try my hand in working for the USGS. I didn’t get to see as much as Nevada as I hoped, but I am happy with what I did get to see and experience.
I have been working in the office now consistently since I have been back from a two week vacation during the Holidays. I am starting to drive myself crazy being stranded in a cubicle writing GIS metadata and progress reports. Because of these past few weeks being in the office, I am glad to be moving on because I think I need something new and a new area to spike my interests. Don’t get me wrong, the area is beautiful, but I have seen it and now I want to see more things instead of becoming content with seeing the same beauty of the Carson City District all the time.
I appreciate all that the CLM internship has done for me. I think the program is great and has given me some great experiences and skills that I can take elsewhere. The staff at CLM was always helpful in answering difficult questions and was always quick with an answer.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn new and great things while allowing me to utilize and build on my skills.
This will be my last blog post as a CLM intern & my last day in the Buffalo Field office is tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that it has been 8 months since I first arrived here in Buffalo! I feel very fortunate to have been placed here and am taking so many great experiences and memories away with me. I have been kept busy this January with exciting new projects and outreach opportunities! I recently had the opportunity to be a co-author on an ethnobotany paper here in the office. I helped the archaeology staff identify a number of plant species from one of their archaeological sites back in September and have now been able to research and write a report on the ethnobotanical significance of many of those plants to Great Plains prehistoric groups. I also participated in the Midwinter Bald Eagle survey through our field office, which was a great opportunity for me to work on my birding skills. Last week I was able to participate in an outdoor ecology lesson with 100 first graders put on by Audobon Rockies. Teaching the kids about adaptations that allow different animals to survive the cold Wyoming winters was a fantastic way to spend the day!
As I reflect upon the last 8 months, I feel incredibly proud of my accomplishments and the breadth of projects I have had the chance to participate in. During my time here in Buffalo I have gained experience conducting monitoring for sage grouse habitat and rangeland health, took part in numerous outreach events with elementary, middle, and high school students, conducted surveys for rare and sensitive plant species, collected over 7 million sagebrush seeds with a Montana Conservation Corps team, participated in archaeological surveys, mapped fenceline and made sage grouse fence markers to help decrease fence mortalities, helped set up a soil crust inoculation trial in a previously burned area, surveyed limber pine populations and mapped healthy trees for cone collection, and mapped saltcedar in an extensive basin drainage system.
Thanks Buffalo BLM Field Office & the Chicago Botanic Garden for such a fantastic opportunity!
A badger I stumbled upon while in the field!
Teaching students why fur is fascinating.
Remembering the good’ol summer months in the Bighorns!
Conducting vegetation monitoring using a photoboard in August.
Exploring Bighorn Canyon in the Fall
My time here in Safford, Arizona is coming to a close. I have been here for 20 months!! And it has been amazing. I have made some really good friends, and my mentors have been great. The CLM program has been a wonderful experience.
While December was a slow month because of the holidays, things are really picking up now that it is January.
I’ve been assisting with a Plant Growth Monitoring project. Once a week, the monitoring lead and I go out into the field and monitor specific plants, measuring length of leaves, water depth (with the Willamette Valley’s on-and-off rainy weather, the depth of the vernal pools can really vary), and grazing/frost damage. Right after the new year it was actually quite interesting: Eugene had a cold snap, and all of the vernal pools had a thin layer of ice covering them. We got to step through the ice (rubber boots are a definite must have) to find our plants, and most of them were frosted over.
After monitoring the T&E species during the summer field season, seeing the wetlands during the winter is quite the surprise–it’s such a drastic change! Where there were once green prairies, now there are huge swathes of water. Sometimes herds of Canada geese take refuge in the wetlands, easily located by their cacophony of honking; it’s very different from the silent butterflies and praying mantises that wended their way through the wetlands last summer.
Look! Hummocks! And possibly anthills.
The past few weeks here in Roswell have been hectic and busy. I was fortunate enough to go home for two weeks due to compensation time I saved up, and being back in the office has been a warm welcome back. There have been a variety of meetings we have attended this week alone, which has spiced things up a bit. One meeting was for the Lesser Prairie Chicken. Referring to my previous blog, the Lesser Prairie Chicken is up for listing as “threatened” with the Fish & Wildlife Service. The meeting was held here in the conference room at the BLM and a variety of people were there in attendance. The room was filled with oil company representatives, conservation groups and other federal employees. Two gentlemen from the Game Commission were running the meeting and one of them was a Lesser Prairie Chicken biologist. He provided an interesting history and ecology on the bird, as well as statistics from the last ten years. One of the interesting facts that caught my attention was that the numbers of birds has spiked within the last few years – solely due to increased precipitation. They hypothesize that the numbers will go back up if there is an annual increase in precipitation, however the likely hood of that is unknown. Not only was the meeting interesting to learn more about the bird, but the tension in the room was evident. The oil companies have a lot on the line with their businesses and the conservation groups are adding other pressures. Overall, it was interesting being the fly on the wall.
Besides the Lesser Prairie Chicken meeting, we also attended a meeting just for the Natural Resources section of the office. Until this point, I hadn’t fully understood what everybody else I work with actually does. It was eye opening to hear all of the different things going on and actually understand how they are all related.
I have just about a month left until my internship is complete and I am having a hard time believing this! My last couple of weeks here will probably involve finishing up various projects – including my wildflower brochure. Almost all of the plant species are identified and the only thing really left is to complete the layout of the brochure. I sincerely hope to finish this before my internship is over and add a link for it to my last blog post.
BLM Roswell, NM
Well, it was a great two weeks at home but I admit I’m glad to be back in Buffalo, WY (though it is kind of confusing knowing there’s more snow in Indiana right now than Wyoming). I’m sure Wyoming will catch up soon so I can try my hand at some cross country skiing.
It’s mainly office work at this point in the season. We’re trying to check all the range improvement files in the online database and using GIS to make sure they are where they say they are. Other than that, we have the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey to look forward to this weekend. Hopefully we’ll get a good number of eagles this year.
Despite the recent drop in temperature and the increase in snow on the ground, my winter has been very busy thus far. I am still amazed at the fact that I get to do field work during the most disagreeable months of the year. Luckily, the National Forest where I work includes land at high and low elevations. So, although our drive time is increased, we can still do out-plantings and rehabilitation work at restoration sites “down the hill” as we call it here (a.k.a 5,000 feet lower in elevation).
When I wake up in the morning in the mountains, temperatures range from 10 to 30 degrees. When we load the truck, we have to breathe hot air on the tool shed lock in order to unfreeze the dials that unlock it. If we need to fill up the water tank to water our transplants, we have to do so at a Forest Service Station at a lower elevation. Everything takes a lot longer with the inclement weather, but our team remains in good spirits. Once the first hole of the day is dug or the first fence post pounded, and the sun’s desert rays start to thaw our hands, our work seems that much more gratifying because of the morning cold we endured.
If I am not installing a restoration site, I can either be found in the office revising our restoration monitoring protocols or out on some Forest Service road monitoring already established sites with my coworkers. The days are filled with laughter, fun, and hard work, so needless to say I still love being a CLM intern!
Lizzy, San Bernardino National Forest
I have happily been extended as a CLM intern. As the weather got cold (there is a high of 18 degrees today) it was a transition from field work mainly focused on collections for the Seeds of Success Program to more indoor activities including lab and office work. My time is split between the University of Wyoming and the BLM state office in Cheyenne.
As the Sate office, I have been experiencing all the behinds the scenes work that makes the SOS program run. We have been coordinating reports and compiling data in a map. I also did a bit of research to find out what forb and grass seeds native to Wyoming are available commercially. I was struck by how few forb and grass seeds are available that represent the local genotypes and genetic diversity. Many of the plant species I collected seeds from this summer are not available on the market. This provided a lot of prospective on how important the SOS program is. Not only does it provide seeds for long term storage, but also for research with the hope that one day local seeds will be available for restoration projects around the United State.
This provides lots of perspective for the other half of my intern experience at the University of Wyoming. I work in a lab exploring germination variability in native seeds using many of the seeds I collected this summer. I record data on the germination totals for seeds and get excited when the root tip emerges for a new species. The variation in growth forms, germination requirements, and speed of germination both among and between species is amazing. I know that this work is an important step in the process to get viable native plants into the ground for restoration.