This is my final blogpost!
I have gained so many new skills at this position. I feel proficient at using ArcMap now and entering element occurrence data into the Natural Resources Information System (NRIS). My driving skills have also gotten so much better. I am now very experienced driving so many different kinds and sizes of vehicles on on some pretty bad forest roads. The terrain here is very difficult to traverse because it is so steep and rocky. I also spent a ton of time writing our invasive plant guide. Writing is something I am not very good at and I have a hard time reading over and editing my work. I definitely feel more like a real botanist now.
I got to do something I have wanted to do since college this year. I got to design and implement a lichen air quality study. I fell in love with lichens when I took a class on lichens and bryophytes. Lichens are so cool because they are great indicators of presence or absence of air pollution. They also accumulate pollutants in their thalli. The levels of pollutants can be measured in a lab. I set up a system of plots throughout the San Bernardino mountains and collected two target lichen species: Umbilicaria phaea and Rhizoplaca melanopthalma. I have sent the samples off to a Forest Service lab and when the results come back then the SBNF will have a better idea what kinds of pollutants can be found throughout the forest.
One of my major goals in this job was to improve my computer skills. I still have a long way to go, but I feel so much more competent using the Microsoft software, understanding computer terminology and being able to do things to make my computer run better. I have definitely met that goal and want to continue learning.
I made some great friends in my office and my mentor was great as well. This has given me a completely different outlook on Southern California. I always associated with the cities, but am so glad that I have had the opportunity to explore these beautiful mountains and deserts.
Here are the last of my photos to enjoy: