It is unreal that this year has passed. The newness of the office, projects, and my co-workers I felt last February has settled into familiarity and appreciation. It’s hard to believe that soon I will never sit at this desk again or type on this noisy keyboard. Thinking back, I am amazed at how much knowledge I gained and how much my team accomplished.
There are many things I learned this year that I never expected. I am so lucky to have attended all the trainings I did, from Identification of Grasses to Ecologically-Based Integrated Pest Management to Wetland Delineation. The classes were both challenging and helpful to my daily work and career development. Along with official trainings were conferences like the Nevada Rare Plant Workshop and ESR Lessons Learned, where I gained insight into the decision-making of the land management world. I know it’s special to receive so much training in any job, and I appreciate my mentor advocating for the learning aspect of the internship.
On top of formal trainings, I advanced greatly in my botanical and computer software knowledge. It’s easy to identify Poa secunda and Eriogonum nummulare, Latin names I had never seen before. It’s easy to dissect a seed pod and estimate the number of seeds on a plant; I find myself doing it on hikes outside of work. It’s easy to run a query in Access, and not-so-easy to perform data analysis in R. The skills I learned this year will be valuable to me for the rest of my career.
Eriogonum diatomaceum, the Churchill Narrows buckwheat, the little plant that defined much of my internship.
It’s great to think about next year’s interns having learning experiences similar to mine and how far they will come over their months here. I hope they take advantage of the opportunities offered to them.
On top of the education, I am proud of the projects my team accomplished. We made 208 seed collections, monitored 6 rare plant species and 7 fires, helped restore 3 riparian areas, and attended 10 outreach events. More than the numbers, however, I am proud of our perseverance and effort in accomplishing the tasks we were given. The year was not without challenge or mistake, and we have continued to work hard up until the very end.
Interns in the sagebrush, a typical day-in-the-life.
Over the year, my appreciation for the beauty of Nevada has grown. I arrived here from the tropical rainforest of Australia and was shocked by the dryness of the landscape. Soon, I realized the uniqueness of the mountain range-valley, mountain range-valley landform pattern across the state. The plant community is resilient and has secrets hiding in the canyons. And when snow falls, the tan hills become shining white statues. It is a gorgeous state I would not have truly gotten to know without this internship.
What a valuable year this has been. The CLM program is extremely beneficial to young professionals like me and I hope it continues for many years. As much I would like to linger here and develop my skills even further, I am happy to pass the torch to another botany intern here in Carson City.