Consumnes River Preserve

Hello Interns,

Not much is new with me.  I recently took some time off to pursue other interests (wildland fire related), but now I am back at it at the Cosumnes River Preserve.  I am still working on a NEPA/CEQA combination document for a restoration project I am responsible for.  We are creating habitat for the endangered (federally and state listed) California Central Valley-endemic giant garter snake.  These permits are incredibly tedious and time consuming documents to write.  Did I mention how massive they are?  Use your imagination.  You might think that projects designed to benefit native plant and animal species (restorations) would require less federal and state permits than say, (evil) development projects.  This is not the case.  Both types of projects require permits galore, and from a permit standpoint, both are fairly similar.  Every permit requires its own unique vocabulary.  Tomato, tomato- right? WRONG! Good times.

I enjoy when one of the other CLM interns at our field office invites me for a glorious field day of seed collection.

Cheers folks-


Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Part 2


Devil’s Peak

I just spent the past week along the Nabesna road. This is one of two roads that snakes itself into the park and it is located about an hour and a half north of the visitor center. My work consisted of driving along the road and pulling off at all of the parking areas and trail-head along the road and doing surveys of the invasive plants. When we find invasives we pull them up if it is manageable, there are some cases where there are just too many of a plant to be able to control it properly. We ended up being able to hit all of the areas along the 48 miles road and pulled about 75 lbs of invasive plants.

12:07am after the solstice

This was at 12:07am after the sunset. It stays like dusk then until about 3am.

This past Sunday was also the summer solstice which means the longest day of the year.  Never having been to Alaska was not aware of the celebration solstice can sometimes entail. Everyone was wishing me a happy solstice and there were many activities in the towns close nearby, like local bands playing and free food. Mainly the events are meant to hang out with friends while you all wait to watch the sun set, for my area that time was 11:36pm.


Collecting monitoring points of invasive species that were found along the road

IMG_1608As for this week, I will be helping the park’s fishery biologist with a fish survey in Grizzly Lake. I get to take my first float plane ride to the site and will be spending my time on the water collecting, tagging, and taking samples from the fish. I am really excited to get this opportunity to help out, and I am sure it will be a lot of fun.

Busy Week in the Field

Since I arrived back in Wyoming from the CLM workshop Chicago, my week has been busy, busy, busy! A majority of the week dealt with range land health assessments. However, some of it was also spent making the first collections for the Seeds of Success program.

Each day, we were putting in about 10 hours of work. We were lucky to have a breezy, sunny series of days which made it enjoyable to be traipsing through the sites of sagebrush. Seeing the cute baby cows all around have also made these long days bearable (It is my summer goal to hug one of these baby cows, and I was recently informed by a friend of a friend that this may in fact be possible!), as well as the eye candy flowers currently in bloom!


Some of that eye candy I was talking about! The lovely and colorful flower of a prickly pear cactus.




Some of the baby cows that I will one day get to cuddle….hopefully.


Monday was the first day that all four interns were working together, and we had a blast getting to know each other and working hard to get the monitoring finished. There was a lot of training involved in these field days. We pulled up to each site with a small army of three trucks filled with interns, soil specialists, range specialists, and wildlife biologists. It was great to have everyone there the first few days, because we were able to share our knowledge of the sites and our specialties back and forth. I was able to pick up some great facts about soil and wildlife for each of the sites by talking to the other members of the team, and was able to share what I knew about the plants of the area, as well as sage grouse habitat monitoring with the other members of the team.


The crew is all together! All four of the interns are finally here and working together! (From Left: Heather, Sara, Me, Justin)

I had previously been introduced to setting up the transects at the sites, but we went into extreme detail so the interns will be able to complete some monitoring without the entire team in the coming weeks. In one day alone, I set up three transects, learned to perform point line intercepts, use a compass, and perform the Daubenmire method.

The days seemed to fly by because there was so much to get done at each location. Because so much teaching and training was involved at these sites, and because it took so long to get to each of these locations (2-3 hrs), we were only able to complete 2 sites per day. However, we are hoping to pick up the pace in the coming weeks, getting 3-4 sites done each day.

In addition to the 9 sites we successfully monitored this week, Justin and I also completed the Desert Biscuit root (Lomatium foeniculaceum) seed collection which our fellow intern, Sara Burns and our advisor, Charlotte Darling, had started the week before. There were so many seeds to be collected, and a good chunk which had yet to mature, which gives us the opportunity to go back and collect more next week. Collecting went faster than I had anticipated and was actually quite fun. Justin and I came up with a quick and efficient method for removing the seeds and covered the entire area in just than a couple of hours.


Me collecting some of the Lomatium seed from the location near Kaycee, WY.


Some of the seeding pussytoes we stumbled upon.

During the days of monitoring, we also had a few exciting encounters with great populations for collections for the SOS program. We wound up finding a site of small-leaf pussytoes (Antennaria parvifolia) ready for collection, and collected from over 200 plants in a single day. This plant has become one of my favorites because of how soft and fluffy it is, and how closely it resembles kittens paws (It’s a bonus that it was so easy to collect from!). We also found promising populations of Chick Weed, Two-grooved Milkvetch, and the American Vetch that we will have to go back and visit in a couple of weeks.

I was soooo happy to have had the SOS training the previous week! It made filling out the forms, collection herbarium specimens, and checking seed ripeness so much easier!

In the coming week, we will be camping in an area that has five sites which need to be monitored to cut down on driving time and to help pick up the pace. I am looking forward to spending this time with the fellow interns and co-workers. I am just hoping for some another sunny breezy week like the last one! I am also hopeful we will be able to come across a population of Scarlet Globe mallow to collect.

Just a pretty picture from one of our last sites of the week!

Just a pretty picture from one of our last sites of the week!

Until next time!


Fond memories and new beginnings

Hey everyone,

Well, a lot has happened since my last post! There’s been fieldwork and new sites, weekend adventures and the Chicago workshop, where I met fellow interns and participated in seminars.

I’d never been to the Midwest, so the workshop week was full of fun experiences for me. One of the first things I noticed was that northern Illinois reminds me a lot of the northeast, with its lush, green forests full of trees and plants familiar to me.


The same trees I climbed as a child, the same forests I built forts in, ran through trying to spot wildlife and pretend I was an explorer roughing it through the wilderness and living in nature alone.That was really neat, like a quick taste of home. The gardens in the Chicago Botanic Garden were beautiful, with a place for everyone to enjoy. In between activities and seminars, I liked walking around and getting lost, taking way too many photos and geeking out on the plants. Watching other visitors, there were people of all ages—elderly couples, children, younger people, it seemed like they all found a place in here. Whether it was sitting by a bubbling fountain, walking through the dwarf shrub gardens or my personal favorite, the vegetable gardens and English wall gardens, everyone had that look of contented enjoyment. Perhaps I am projecting myself a tiny bit, but I distinctly remember walking by a pair of older women chatting animatedly on a bench, purses abandoned and gesticulating wildly. IMG_6754They caught my attention because they reminded me of the elderly ladies in Argentina during the afternoon siesta, exchanging gossip from across their verandas or out on the plaza. Giggling like schoolgirls, their banter can always be heard over the silence of sleepy afternoon as they happily share information and camaraderie. I also noticed people walked slower in gardens, like all the needs to rush about and make it to one place or another did not matter within the confines of the sculpted hedges and rose bushes. I liked that. Sometimes I wish people were more like that outside in the real world, journey-lovers versus destination seekers. It’s something I think all of us forget from time to time and I try to incorporate in my own life. Stop and smell those flowers! 🙂

Anyway, besides the garden, I liked meeting my peers, hearing about their work and attending the lectures. My favorites were definitely the population genetics lecture, a topic I find fascinating, especially in plant ecology, and Dean Tonenna’s talk on Numa culture and history. I love learning about new cultures and the artifacts he brought were beautiful. So unique to a people and each basket or jug had a story.IMG_6738

It was interesting how some interns had been at their offices as long as I had, while others had just started a week ago. I tried putting myself in their shoes, remembering what it was to have finished my first week and thought about what I’d like to accomplish now that I’m about two months in. I certainly want to explore Idaho a bit more and learn more of the alpine forbs that we may encounter soon. I also realized that I am not as quick to identify trees in the northwest as I would like (mostly because we don’t encounter them regularly), so I checked out a guide book, which I think will be handy to learn from in case we come across more trees. Haha, and also simply because I like trees.

But going back to enjoying the journey and maintaining enthusiasm for simple pleasures, before going to Chicago, my crew and I bade farewell to our Diamond A campsite. I was surprised at the little tinge of sadness I felt as I saw our Cottonwood campsite shrink in the rearview mirror.  The Diamond A was a rugged allotment, that’s for sure. We had cold, rainy days when the thunderclouds seemed to roll out of nowhere and biting winds that made you want to just snuggle deeper into your sleeping bag.  There were muddy roads and long drives to get out into our sites. But the snowcapped mountains, the new forbs and thrill of being out there in the wilderness were beyond all of that. daI loved the warm glow of the sun on my cheek when it managed to break through the grey sky and seep down through the ridges of the rocky canyons. The colors on the cliff rocks and the lighting as the sun lowered in the horizon…indescribable.

Coming back to the camp at the end of the long day, I’m sure it meant different things for everyone. For me, seeing our clunky white trailer, the fire pit and the picnic table in our campsite clearing—I had the sense that I was being welcomed home. Welcome to unpack our gear, change clothes and settle down to id plants, chat with my crew mates or sit by the Bruneau River to watch it roll by. To step back from our narrow focus of the task at hand (our vegetation monitoring) and drink in the vast mountains and landscapes unperturbed by the urban sprawl less than three hours away, feeling the solitary wilderness we were living in.

da2Even after a long day, I enjoyed an evening walk down the twisted canyon road away from the campsite to marvel at all the rock formations and reflect on the day. I had a special spot further down the road tucked under some junipers, where a twisted branch provided a perfect spot to for a girl to curl up and listen to the river and the birds. As the horizon darkened, the star-filled night and moon caught high up in the cliffs made me feel incredibly small, yet thankful to be a part of the moment.

I’ve always been amazed at how quickly one phase of life can unfold into another and our bodies and minds shift with it. I suppose it’s a testament of the human ability to adapt and hold on to memories of people and places we care about as we move along on this earth. This week we are headed to a new camping site in a sheep corral, which will be a mostly grassy area with—you guessed it—sheep. Our trailer is already there and I’m excited that it will be our new home site. I have yet to live in grassy wide-open area, so can’t wait to experience that. I am picturing this vast expanse of crested grasses rippling in the howling wind and an endless sky of rolling clouds and beautiful starry nights. But then again, that is classic Maria Paula romanticized imagination. Anyway, I’m excited for our new home and adventures!


‘Til next time!!

Maria Paula

Jarbidge Field Office

Twin Falls, ID




Buffalo, Wyoming

Bison in Yellowstone.

Bison in Yellowstone.

My journey began in Hendersonville, TN. As soon as I had word, I packed my bags and left for the twenty-two hour drive to Buffalo, Wyoming. Driving took two days, and I arrived in Buffalo in the afternoon on June 3, 2014. I was fortunate enough to secure a room to rent with two other interns from the program.

CBG interns at the Buffalo Field Office.

CBG interns at the Buffalo Field Office.

I reported for my first day of work at the Buffalo Field Office at 8:00 AM the next morning. Work began right away. I dived in head first to my first day in the field monitoring grazing allotments.
alone in sage

Line transect
My next few days of work would be spent on various training agendas. Thursday was GIS training, which I had no previous experience so I was thrilled and overwhelmed at the same time. Friday was UTV training, which I enjoyed quite a bit.
UTV Gear


Long hours in the field were soon to follow for the next two weeks, but the experience and landscape views made my work feel more like fun. It is hard to remember you are working when the views take your breath away.
Cow Range

Red Wall

alone in field

Sara Burns

BLM Buffalo Field Office

Buffalo, Wyoming

ES&Rs, RNAs, ACECs and Rocks! That’s Neat! (haha youtube: Neature Walk!!)

My two arch nemesis: medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)

My two arch nemesis: medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae) and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum)

ground photo of Olympus fire plot

ground photo of Olympus fire plot

Landscape photo of the 2013 Olympus Fire burned Miller Homestead

Landscape photo of the 2013 Olympus Fire burned Miller Homestead


Travis caught the bullsnake!





I LOVE COWS!! SO cute!

I LOVE COWS!! SO cute!

Hello everyone!

I am excited to finally be writing to you from the high desert of Eastern Oregon. Just over four weeks ago I traveled from Denver, CO to Hines, OR to begin my conservation and land management internship (Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation monitoring) with the Bureau of Land Management. It felt so good to have just graduated from college a week before and already be starting an amazing internship with a federal agency I have learned so much about over the years as a Rangeland Ecology student at Colorado State University.

The first day of work my supervisor Caryn was very welcoming and introduced Marta (other intern) and I to a number of different specialists and managers in the office that we would be working with during our time here. I couldn’t get over how freakin cool it was to be walking around in a BLM office and seeing so many different natural resource specialists (rangeland management, geologists, GIS, wildlife biologists, land/realty management, fire ecologists, etc) hard at work in order to support people’s livelihoods and sustain ecosystem services!

Our field season officially began the morning of June 1st when Travis (Rangeland Management Specialist) took us out to the Miller homestead site (he manages) where the lightning-ignited Olympus fire burned 3,000 acres last summer. The high-intensity fire spread quickly due to the occupation of that area by many shrubs, native perennial grasses and medusahead (an especially invasive non-native grass which reduces grazing capacity and wildlife habitat, negatively affects biodiversity and creates a wildfire hazard). The site was aerial seeded with alfalfa (very good forage species that is well-adapted to the dry environment of Oregon’s high desert rangelands).

Our job was to carry out the Pace 180 (nearest plant) method to monitor vegetation trend by estimating ground cover, basal cover of perennial herbaceous plants and foliar cover of woody species in addition to perennial plant composition. We also were tasked with carrying out the Line-Point Intercept method to quantify soil cover, vegetation cover, litter cover, rock cover and biological soil crust cover. Additionally, we set out a quad every 5 meters along our 50 meter transects to estimate the density of perennial forbs and shrubs in the burned area. The purpose of ESR monitoring is to determine whether the implemented treatment (seeding in this case) was effective in establishing desirable species that reduce soil erosion (by providing good cover) and positively impact the ecological integrity of the burned site by occupying areas that otherwise would be overtaken by ecosystem-altering invasive non-native species such as medusahead grass and cheatgrass (an invasive non-native annual grass that outcompetes native species especially after a disturbance, reduces agricultural production and alters an ecosystem’s fire regime).

This first day out in the field was quite rewarding! Not only did Travis familiarize us with ESR monitoring protocol and happily tell us (and answer our many questions) about the ecological history of the site, he also had a great discussion with us about the many (environmental and political) threats that plague the rangelands of Eastern Oregon.

On the days we are not monitoring ESR sites,  we are either traveling to different Research Natural Areas (RNAs) in search of rare plants or traveling to different Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACECs) to conduct plant inventories. These days are particularly exciting because we often find ourselves botanizing in some of the most beautiful biologically diverse ecosystems Eastern Oregon has to offer!

In other news, ever since I stumbled upon pieces of obsidian, rough quartz and white crystalized rock the first week in the field, I have definitely become a bit of a rock-hound! Caryn (my wonderful supervisor) fell in love with rock hunting the minute she explored Harney county as well and the other day showed me her very impressive rock collection of obsidian, quartz, calcite, agate, jasper and PETRIFIED WOOD!!! I am pretty stoked because tomorrow morning I will be spending my time hunting for obsidian, agate and sunstones (to add to my first ever rock collection) since I am now the proud owner of 3 rock hunting site maps provided to me (and made by) Caryn!!  Below is a sneak peak of my growing collection.

IMG_1657 IMG_1658 IMG_1663 IMG_1670 IMG_1673 IMG_1677 IMG_1662 IMG_1661

This is my first time ever blogging, but I actually really enjoy it and feel it’s a wonderful way to reflect on the many experiences I will have as a BLM intern here in OREGON!!

I look forward to blogging at least every other week, so stay tuned 🙂

Ariana Gloria-Martinez

Hines, Oregon




Sagebrush research and exploring quaking aspen populations

Hello everyone, this time I will share a little bit of my internship experience at the Provo Shrub  Science Lab and also I want to share something about the new work I am doing with quaking aspen populations (Populus tremuloides) in collaboration with people from Utah State University.   As I shared in my previous posts my primary research is focused on big sagebrush and the analysis of mix volatile compounds using an electronic nose device. In this stage of the research we are scaling the experiments from leaves to seeds and trying to explore smell patterns in sagebrush seeds.  Additionally in regards to the big sagebrush populations research, I started to explore quaking aspen populations in Southern Utah. One of the activities of the project that is very interesting to me is the collection of germplasm because aspen populations have a wide genetic variability. Thinking ahead we are planning to present our big sagebrush results next fall in the Society for Ecological Restoration Conference, which also makes me very excited.

There are a lot of things to do at the Provo Shrub lab, and we are moving forward on all of our projects, but the thing that makes me really excited is that we are formulating new interesting questions about big sagebrush. As I said in previous post I am very thankful for all the support of my mentor and my companions at the Provo Shrub lab. Thank you CLM for this opportunity and, I want to say thank you to all of the staff for all the support and help, I really appreciate it.

DSCF7148 DSCF7160       DSCF7149 DSCF7170


Provo, UT

Forest Service, RMRS, Provo Shrub Science Lab