October

Greetings fellow interns,

Things are finally beginning to green up again here in the Northern California Central Valley.  This has come to be one of my favorite times of the year here.  Being originally from the Midwest, I am accustomed to seeing dry, dormant, dying vegetation in the fall as plants prepare for a cold hard winter, but here the fall season brings moisture and precipitation to a system that has been dry and dormant throughout the mid and late summer.  It makes for a lovely green fall full of re-awakening plant life.  Judging by my inability to pass air through my nasal passages, I am convinced the rejuvenated plants are also contributing to an increased pollen count.  You take the good with the bad!

Many exciting things are currently happening at the Preserve.  Birds have begun showing up in numbers and we are once again participating in bi-weekly waterfowl counts.  Every year the Cosumnes River Preserve supports tens of thousands of migratory birds utilizing the Pacific Flyway.  With the extremity of the drought over the last several years, many historically wet areas do not have water this year, and we are expecting above average bird numbers.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of developing a mountain lion study at the Preserve.  The pilot study will involve trapping and radio collaring cats to better understand how and why they are using the Preserve as habitat.  Trapping is scheduled to being this winter. The cats are definitely present at the Preserve, but they are such cryptic animals that their life histories here are quite mysterious.   I am very eager to read up on the findings of this study.

The Preserve is also working on the development of a partnership with the Center for Land Based Learning through their Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Habitat Restoration Program.  This program gets California school students directly involved in native habitat restoration projects through  hands-on field work days at various sites throughout the Sacramento Valley.  As a significant portion of my responsibilities at the Preserve include managing habitat restoration projects, I think this will be an excellent opportunity to expand our projects while educating students and having a good time!

Lucky for me, I have also had the opportunity to participate in a few SOS seed collections throughout the late summer and early fall months.  I love being able to get out in the field to explore, monitor plant populations, and collect seed!  I was also joined by fellow SOS intern Julie Wynia, and it is always great to be able to socialize and collect with other folks from the CLM program.  We reached our 2014 BLM collection targets for the Mother Lode Field Office, and have already begun collecting for the 2015 fiscal year.  Hope your fall season has been going equally as enjoyably as mine has-

Best,

Patrick

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