I’ve just wrapped up my sixth week as a CLM intern with the BLM Field Office in Rawlins, Wyoming. For the last few weeks the focus has been on seeds: scouting for, checking up on, collecting, cleaning up, and shipping. My fellow intern Avery and I have made eight collections so far and have found another eight immature populations we’re keeping our eyes on. Many of our target species are long gone already, having finished their fruiting cycles and wilted away in the especially dry season. We started late in this regard, but luckily our goal of 20-30 collections still seems highly attainable. Sagebrush may very well save the day.
I seem to be learning the flora pretty well here and have been taken by nerdy surprise over and over at some of the new-to-me genera we’ve run into. I’ve sort of become the plant and paperwork half of the job so am still eager to get some more GPS experience under my belt. There’s still a lot of time left for that, so it’ll work out.
Avery and I work long days and are rewarded with long weekends. I’ve been trying to keep things interesting by attempting to be creative with sparkly stuff at the barracks and going on mini road trips to see the sites. I’ve spent some time adventuring here in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and this weekend I’m headed to Idaho to see a familiar face and hopefully devour some straight up scrumptious food.
My favorite things about the area are the bunnies who live in and eat my yard, the huge detailed and fluffy clouds, and the warmth. Especially the bunnies though. A couple of weeks ago I saw a huge white-tailed jackrabbit (totally a ninja bunny) and some desert horned lizards. I see more wildlife here than I have in any other place. It’s really neat.
This week we did a little work with a Mycological-Inventory Technician named Cat who has been roaming different ecoregions in the area for two summers collecting fungi and (gasp!) lichens data. (I happen to be a bit of a lichen fanatic, so it was a blast to spend time on our hands and knees hunting for them.) Apparently little is known about where fungi and lichenized fungi occur here, so her grant-sponsored work is pretty exciting and admirable.
Our internship future remains dedicated to SOS, though we’ve been asked if we’d like to do some work with bats and reclamation-based monitoring. Our mentor and a few other BLM employees are intent on giving us experience in as many areas as they have to offer, so hopefully we’ll get many glimpses of all sorts of what goes on with the BLM.
Six weeks down, sixteen to go!