As I review my internship and the past five months here in northeastern California, I am extremely grateful for all of the wonderful experiences and memories. I am especially glad my work helped contribute, in a small way, to conserving the Great Basin ecosystem. My supervisor was always a pleasure to work with and I genuinely felt like a part of team at my BLM field office. However, I can definitely remember some highlights.
Every time the other intern and I found a special status plant population was exciting. One of the most memorable of these moments was when the other intern and I got to visit a population of Ponderosa pine trees. If the trees alone weren’t special, they were also growing in a unique habitat – sand dunes! Since the site has been fenced since the early 1990s, there were a lot of healthy and unique plant populations to explore and we even saw a bald eagle nesting in one of the pine trees.
Another highlight of my internship was the two nights I was able to volunteer and help trap sage grouse. The first night I went out, we didn’t catch a single bird; but on the second night, my partner and I alone caught nine! It was really cool to see and handle these birds up close since much we certainly dedicated to protecting this bird and its habitat.
Lastly, when the field season was slowing down, I am also really happy I decided to undertake digitalizing my field office’s herbarium. Yes, data entry can be tedious, but entering the last (of 2,958) herbarium specimens felt like a serious accomplishment. I know it will be useful for my supervisor, the field office, and maybe even future interns. It is nice to know I am leaving a little behind and giving a little back in exchange for all the great times I had these past five months.
To end, I would like to thank both the Chicago Botanical Gardens and the Eagle Lake Field Office for this great internship! I learned a lot, got to experience a great part of the country, and highly recommend to people who are considering applying for this internship in the future.