Nevada ABLAZE!!!!!!!!!

Thousands of acres set aflame! Gone are the pinyons, the junipers, and who is to blame?! The quail flee from their nests, their proud plumes singed with soot! So much smoke in the air- what nefarious deeds could be afoot?! Zeus himself has decreed our Pine Nuts to burn! The misery! The pain! To whom can we turn?! But wait! There- in the distance! What do I see? A Hot Shot coming to rescue me!

Still Loving Buffalo, WY

Since my return from Chicago, Dan (the other range intern) and I have been busy cranking out transects. Being in a fairly dry area, and at an elevation that ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 ft., we’ve honed our skills quite quickly to get as much of the grazing allotments done within the short growing season. “It’s all about teamwork,” is what you might hear just before we back each other up singing hits from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s on the way to the next allotment. We’ve also had the pleasure of a few jam sessions with the SOS interns, as we assist each other on our various projects. Nick and Kelly are awesome!

Things have been great! I’ve finally got desirable items in my apartment after loads of yard sale scouring and free item snatching. That affordable, non-air conditioned place is starting to feel like a home. I’ve never needed much, and I feel college, backpacking, and all my other hobbies (or shenanigans) have prepared me for a nomadic lifestyle. However, I do like cooking and lounging, so I’ll gather those “necessary” items for the time being.

My plans for the near future entail monitoring as long as the fields hold some color, hanging out with other employees, and hiking the Big Horn Mountains. Despite day hikes, I have yet to pull an overnight hike near one of the many peaks in that range. Although, I suppose my problem is a good one. Getting caught up in the frequent festivals and employee get-togethers are a welcomed treat from Buffalo and its inhabitants.

That’s all the news for now. Goodnight, Buffalo.

Week 2 at the Lockeford Plant Materials Center

Here I am standing in front of one of our soil health study plots to test and see how cover crops affect the soil nutrient composition in areas used for crops like corn which is now being grown where the cover crop was at before.

So much has happened already in my first couple weeks at the the PMC as we call it here! I have never had an opportunity to work in an agricultural environment before, and this one is so interesting because we are working on growing native plants for all sorts of projects. So far, I have baled hay, learned about setting up and maintaining drip lines, setting up flood irrigation, moved pipes, helped set up a combine for harvesting, and cleaned more seeds then I have ever seen in my life, worked on a soil health study, monitored pollinator plots, learned native plant ID, pulled weeds and trained on all the safety needed around the farm! Its great to get my hands dirty and work outside in the Cali sun…well at least some time in the sun! It gets hot fast out here, and my first week was spent working outside in the longest heatwave anyone around here has seen in a while! It was 102-112 every day for about 12 days in a row! Hot Hot HOT!!! But we worked smart in the heat getting here early in the morning and getting the sweaty work out of the way before the really hot stuff set in for the day. It isn’t too bad in the shade or inside but its hard to keep yourself cool when its that hot. I was drinking at least a gallon of water a day to stay hydrated and productive. Thankfully I am working with a great team here who are super supportive and helped me through that rough weather.

This week is shaping up to be much cooler, only in the 90s for the highs. But the best part of the day is definitely later in the evening around 8pm when the Delta Breeze starts to blow in and cool everything down. From 90s or 100s during the day it will drop into the middle 50s or 60s over night! Its like living in the summer during the day and the spring or fall in the evening. The cool weather at night is so refreshing though, and makes for a good nights sleep after a long hot day working outside.

The family I am renting a room from is really cool as well. The one sister Nellie volunteers at the PMC and another guy, Matt, who is also staying there volunteers and they are both great and such hard workers. The days they come in to help we can get so much more done in the fields, especially since Matt is great at helping out with heavy lifting  and grew up on a farm. Yesterday, he and I were able to apply some of our newly acquired PMC knowledge to set up a flood system to water a newly set up vegetable garden which should help provide us with some great fresh veggies! I’m definitely getting into this farming business I guess! 🙂

This week looks like it will be another busy one especially with all the seed cleaning we need to get done. Our resident farmer, Dennis, just harvested another section of of fields so there is plenty to do! Plus, we have more of the seeds we grew for the National Park Service to clean and send out to them! I’m gonna be busy, that’s for SURE! But I’m having a great time and really am enjoying it so far! Looking forward to finding out what tomorrow will bring!

Until then,

TTFN, TaTaForNow!


My new favorite season: field season!

Man, are we busy! Training is finally over, and field season is in full swing. We are working long hours most days to complete a long list of allotments due for monitoring, and it’s getting pretty hot up here in Wyoming. Given all that, I still wouldn’t trade my job for anything! I love coming to work every day, and the people here are awesome. I had some reservations about moving to a town as small as Buffalo, but I’m glad I took the plunge. It’s hard to get used to most of the stores closing before I get off work, but there are plenty of other things to do besides shopping. I still haven’t explored much of the Big Horn Mountains yet, but there are lots of trails and things close to town that are really neat. My new favorite haunt is the Clear Creek Brewery, which I would highly recommend to anyone passing through here.

It’s kind of sad that field season is almost over: it really flew by. However, I know that the indoor parts of range management are just as important as the outdoor parts, if not quite as much fun. Anyway, I hope all my fellow CBG interns are having as much fun as we are here in Buffalo! Stay safe in the field – you run into all kinds of crazy stuff, as I’m sure you all have figured out. One important lesson I’ve learned out there: you can never have too much water!

First weeks at Surprise Valley!

With this my first post I would like to thank the CLM Program, and its staff, at the Chicago Botanic Garden for this great opportunity of working with the BLM at the Surprise Field Office in Cedarville, CA. My first official work week of the internship started with the workshop at Chicago. At the workshop I had the chance to meet lots of fellow interns and of course the CLM staff (Krissa, Wes, and Matt) who throughout the week exposed to us the objective and purpose of the internship program. The training included vegetation monitoring and analyses techniques, plant ID practice, and navigation with compass and GPS units. Also, the Seeds of Success program was explained, and the protocol for species collection was reviewed to make sure it was followed for a successful collection this year.

Following the workshop week, I arrived at Cedarville in the Surprise Valley. The week started with a staff meeting where I was introduced to the people working in the different departments at the BLM office. The first day continued with driving, computer and first aid certifications and laying out the plan for some of the projects I will be working on.

So far, I have worked with the wildlife department improving sage grouse habitat by recognizing and assessing areas for potential thinning of juniper tree stands to open up the area for more suitable habitat. The removing of trees will also improve hydrology as more water yield from snow melt and rainfall is expected. Other work with the wildlife program has include installing game cameras in new water developments created for recently introduced big horn sheep.  I have also spent time scouting the resource area for seed collection sites, and so far I have made four collections, and am waiting for more native plants to seed out.

I hope to keep enjoying my job here and, of course, keep learning and applying new principles and techniques for conservation and land management.

Until now this is all.

2013 CLM Intern
BLM Surprise Field Office