Field Fun in Fall

As I write this, I’m sitting on a bed of pine needles with a  spotted owl transmitter placed a few feet away on a stick while my coworker uses snazzy instruments to try and locate me in the forest. It’s the best hide and seek game I’ve ever played because I get to read my book in nature and bask in the sun all the while contributing to science! Due to the fact that I have a much more flexible schedule than most in my office, I get to help out with a lot of different projects facilitated by the BioBot staff (as we call ourselves). Currently, I’m pretending to be a spotted owl whose location is known and my coworker is following the normal tracking procedure so that we can gather information that will allow us to calculate the experimental error for a paper that the wildlife biologists are writing on a previous experiment.

In addition to pretending to be an owl, I’ve been keeping very busy at work. Last week we completed our restoration project in the Bighorn Wilderness in the transition zone between the San Bernardino Mountains and the Mojave Desert. We built a pipe and cable fence along the BLM/FS property boundary that will hopefully stop the use of unauthorized Off Highway Vehicle roads in the wilderness area. I mentioned in my last blog post that this project entailed a lot of inter-agency cooperation. I really enjoyed the experience I got in field-crew management and fostering an inclusive work environment for folks of differing socioeconomic backgrounds (we had some very different groups working together). After we completed the fence, we seeded and disguised unauthorized road beds and did our best to restore the integrity of the wilderness area. We all came away from the project with a sense of pride and empowerment because we accomplished a major effort in just two weeks of work.

Looking into the Bighorn Wilderness, what we are aiming to protect with our fencing project!

The other main project I’ve been involved with is developing a systematic protocol and geodatabase for our restoration site monitoring efforts on our Ranger District. The details are a little dry, so I’ll spare you, but I am learning so much that I feel like it won’t all fit on my resume! Enough said!

Thanks for the experience,

Lizzy, San Bernardino National Forest

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