“Sneffel”ing about leavin’

Hello! Greetings from Montrose, CO one last time…

So I have good and bad news. The good news is that I got accepted into grad school! (My poor advisor, he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into by accepting me into his lab…) I’ll be attending the University of Northern Colorado where I will be doing conservation genetic work on the DeBeque Phacelia (only the cutest endagered plant in the history of the world).

DeBeque Phacelia

DeBeque Phacelia

See!? See how cute it is?? It’s as big as that quater!

Aaaaaand the bad news.. I’ll be leaving my internship and the beautiful town of Montrose far too soon. 🙁

Before I get to the mopey part where I write about how sad I am that I’m leaving I’ll update you real quick on what I’ve been doing. Let’s see…since I last wrote I:

+ Attempted to hike into a magical and mysterious place called “Rose Creek” to do owl surveys with my mentor and the wildlife biologist..alas, the best laid plans fall apart and we never hiked further then the Forest Service boundary (I could go into all the details but I think it deserves more then one blog post)…Rose Creek eluded us and I guess we’re waiting until early next spring before we try again (and by “we” I do mean “them” because I’ll be in Greeley doing the school thing).

+ Attempted to do bat surveys in Tabeguache (Tab-i-watch) Creek and Mesa Creek in the west end. First night in Tabeguache – a million bats flyin’ around, but none dumb enought to fly into the net. (Also, an absolutely perfect night for star gazing, saw about five shooting stars.) Second night in Mesa Creek – harassed by a very bold bear cub (I have a pic of him but it’s on my personal camera, sorry guys!) and forced to break down camp in the dark and move before we could really get started (we would’ve caught bats too, one almost flew into the net as we were taking them down). Alas. The best plans fall apart.

+ Went out with the hydrologist for a few days to do water quality sampling and macroinvertebrate surveys in the west end. Some of the best days ever. Just got to play in the water!

+ Aaaaaand, last but not least, I just finished entering my last HAF data sheet EVERRRRRRR!!! into the computer. 🙂 Big day and I feel very accomplished.

SO that’s that, just about two weeks left here and I’m not sure what the game plan is, though there are rumors that I’ll be electroshocking fish (!) in the west end!

Now time to get a bit mopey..this is my second season in Montrose and it really feels like home now. I work with/for the BEST people ever, and they have really pushed me to be a better biologist/botanist – they challenge and encourage me and were really the impetus for me applying and getting into grad school. I’m not sure I would’ve had the guts to do it without the kick in the butt these people (especially my mentor, Ken) gave me. And along those lines, dear everyone at the CBG – keep up the good work!! Without this intership I’d probably still be a telemarketer/liftie in Gunnison/Crested Butte instead of on my way to being a professional botanist (finger’s crossed anyway). Really, thanks so much for this program and all that y’all do.

And since I’ll be leaving soon I’ve been enjoying the mountains (and my friends) here like crazy before I leave and am stuck on the soul-crushing front range of Colorado (hmm, I’m sure it’s not that bad). I’m proud to say that last Sunday I accomplished a goal I set for myself last summer but was unable to accomplish due to vehicle constraints.. I climbed Mount Sneffels (the silliest sounding 14er in all the state, and one of the most recognizable peaks in Colorado)!!! It was my 6th 14er, and my first one since college. I will now proudly post some pictures of the expereince.

On my way up - I'm on the right looking so ridiculously happy it hurts.

On my way up – I’m on the right looking so ridiculously happy it hurts.

On top of Sneffels - 14,157 ft - with one of the coolest gal pals I know!

On top of Sneffels – 14,157 ft – with one of the coolest gal pals I know!

The best hiking buddies ever!

The best hiking buddies ever!

I can’t believe that I’m leaving – and so soon! I’m going to miss Montrose so much but I’m looking forward to all the new and exciting things grad school has to offer!

Officailly signing off on my last CBG Internship blog ever –

Brandee Wills
Uncompahgre Field Office – BLM
Montrose, CO

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About Brandee

Hello! My name is Brandee and I was born in St. Louis, MO, grew up in the beautiful New River Valley in south-western Virginia, and have spent the past five years going to school and bumming around the western slope of Colorado. Recently, I decided to quit my day job as a telemarketer/ski bum and start doing work related to my Biology major (hence this CLM internship).

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