Greetings from the Chicago Botanic Garden!
Although I’m interning at the California Plant Materials Center in Lockeford, California (CAMPC), I have spent the past week at the Garden for a training conference along with many of the other CLM interns. The conference has been intense but enjoyable, with sessions on Western flora, monitoring techniques, and training for the Seeds of Success (SOS) program. The week has been an opportunity to not only learn and practice some of the skills necessary for our jobs but also to meet and network with the other interns and ask questions of the instructors.
The conference has helped to emphasize the importance of the work that my fellow intern and I will be doing over the next few months. We will be collecting seeds for the SOS program and have already done two scouting trips to Red Hills in Tuolumne County as well as Walker Ridge in Lake County. We make up part of a large team of collectors spread out mostly across the Western United States tasked with collecting native plant material than is stored and can ultimately be made available and used for restoration or rehabilitation purposes. Seed collection is only the first step in this process, and I am lucky to be stationed at the CAMPC, which is involved in developing and growing native plant populations on their facility. This work represents some of the other steps that must be taken before seeds collected through SOS can actually be utilized. I’ve only been working for a few weeks, so I’m looking forward to learning more about the real-life complexities of this process and more about the work that goes on at the Plant Materials Center.