It feels like I just arrived in Buffalo and I am already rapping up my time here. The countdown is on and there are only a brief three weeks left at the Buffalo Field Office. The office feels empty since one of our fellow interns, Justin Chappelle, left. However, there is a lot to do before my time is up and there is no time for sulking!
Since all but one seed collection has been sent in to Bend, and almost all of the herbarium specimens have been mailed to the Smithsonian, I have been able to participate in a series of new and interesting projects throughout the office. First, I have been assisting a fellow intern, Heather Bromberg, in working on her PRBR Historic Fire project, in which we have walked historic fires through the core sage grouse area, mapping invasive species throughout like cheatgrass within its perimeter. Second, I joined the Montana Conservation Crew in assisting with seeding and weed mapping at a controlled burn site up in the Big Horns! That was an awesome way to get out of the office and talk to other young individuals working in the conservation and land management field. We were able to walk around the cliffs, hang out, and enjoy the scenery with some really cool people, and I gained a great deal of useful mapping and GPS experience in the process!
Finally, we have started working on range improvements at the office, which means we basically get to go out and explore different patches of BLM land in various Allotments throughout our field office, while mapping different range improvements along the way. It is another great lesson on using GPS Trimble systems and Terrasync, as well as GIS. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work Seed Collections for SOS this summer, but I am even more glad to have the opportunity to try out all of these other projects and to work with so many intelligent and interesting people!
Although the interns have been working hard, we have also been playing some to before I head back to Chicago for the winter! Last weekend we spent the chilly Saturday night backpacking to Lost Twin Lakes! It was both beautiful and exhausting, but well worth it for the view and the thrill.