Farewell from Wyoming!
Well, I’ve come to the end. Time to bow out and let somebody else have an amazing experience in Laramie.
This was a crazy year for the federal government, which meant a crazy year for its agencies (the BLM), their programs (SOS), and their interns. As an intern outside the BLM office, I had a hard time finding the forms I was meant to fill out and figuring out what pieces of each collection needed to go where. The intern before me left some checklists and instructions, and in turn I tried to organize information for the next person. I think that many of my difficulties will be resolved with the introduction of the new website and the online data entry, which will hopefully be available for 2014 field season.
Everyone I interacted with as part of this program was wonderful. The grad students here at the University of Wyoming helped me get adjusted to the lab and to Laramie, and I will miss them all. Ernie and Ron at the Rocky Mountain Herbarium always made time to check my plant IDs and help me improve my skills. Kayla at Bend Seed Extractory could not have been more friendly or helpful. Megan Haidet at the National Office and Andrew Clark at the National Herbarium kindly fielded all my questions. To all of them and others too numerous to mention, thank you so much! I really appreciate both your work and your attitude.
In the new year, I am headed south to do lab archaeology, helping to look at the plant remains from human sites all over the world. So ends the year of the outside jobs. I loved being in the field, and in addition to learning a whole bunch of new plants, seed-collecting gave me a lot of perspective in archaeology. People in the past were gatherers of seeds and fruits, just like me. I have a much better idea of what it takes to live on a landscape like this. Maybe I can get out in the field next summer by doing nature walks focusing on ethnobotany and paleoethnobotany. That would be a kick. I’ll have to check out organizations in my new town.
I loved Laramie pretty much from the moment I got here, and despite the bitter cold, I am very sad to leave. I never get tired of sunrises over the Laramie Range and sunsets over the Snowies. Here some of the photographic highlights from the past 6 months here–I think you’ll get the picture.