My internship wraps up today after ten great months with the California Plant Materials Center. When I drove out here last June, from Illinois, I had never been out West before and as I got closer to Lockeford I started feeling like I had made the wrong choice in coming here. It certainly didn’t help that everything was so brown and dry for the summer. However, this internship has been such a great opportunity for me and I couldn’t be happier with my experience. I’m especially lucky that I was able to spend almost an entire year here to experience all of the seasons and a full cycle of work at the PMC.
Looking back, I can see that I’ve been able to contribute quite a bit to the work going on here. I’ve collected seed for Seeds of Success, propagated plants in a greenhouse, pulled more weeds than I thought possible, learned to drive a tractor and forklift, written technical documents and guides, assembled irrigation systems, planted in a field for seed production, collected data for several studies, and worked on a year-long riparian restoration project with a group of high school students.
The PMC had an open house this week and I was given the opportunity to discuss a soil health study during our tours. I’ve been in charge of organizing parts of the study implementation and collecting data, so this served as a nice culmination to my internship.
I’ve grateful for all of the support and wisdom from my mentor, Margaret, my coworkers, the other interns I’ve worked with, as well as Christina from the BLM and everyone from the Chicago Botanic Garden who made my internship possible. I’m moving on to work for the Forest Service to survey for rare plants this summer, a few hours away in the Sierras, but I’m sure I’ll be back to visit. I’m sad to move on, but I’m excited for what the future holds.