It has been a whirlwind of a month. Moving out to Wyoming has been both interesting and fun. I am stationed in the Newcastle Field Office, which is 17 miles west of the South Dakota border. My fellow intern and I are lucky in that we have access to government housing. It just has a few drawbacks, like no internet or cell phone service, but we have gotten used to it. This just means finding creative ways to spend free time. It is great living here because with the lack of internet I tend to explore the area more. It is an amazing area. There are several National Forests, National Parks, and National Monuments outside the door. These places include Devils Tower, the Black Hills, Jewel Cave, Wind Cave, Yellowstone, the Big Horns and many others.
Every year our office hosts a weeklong camp for middle schoolers showing what field science is like and the different opportunities out there. Everyone had a fun week with the kids camping out and the adults in a small cabin, and let me tell you the cabin was very nice when thunderstorms came rolling in.
There was a lot to do every day; we had surveying, astronomy lessons, forest inventory, fire ecology, water and stream health, and wildland firefighters. The firefighters got the kids really excited, there was a huge truck and they got to try on field packs and roll out hoses. The kids had a lot of fun trying to outdo each other in what they could carry; it was funny seeing a ten year old carrying 50 pounds of gear. While helping the kids was fun, one of the highlights for me was climbing to the top of a fire tower at sunset, this is something that you just don’t get in the East. Overall helping the kids discover new ways to enjoy the outdoors was very rewarding.
Much of the past few weeks have been fun. It is nice to start getting into the meat of our summer projects. We have three projects all at different stages of completion. As the internship is focused on forestry, the projects concern different types of forest management objectives. Of the three projects, one is almost competed and is almost ready to be summited for bid. This means that loggers are going to be bidding on the right to harvest the tract of land. All of this is within the overall goal of reducing the forests susceptibility to mountain pine beetle and promote wildlife habitat. The other two projects, one a meadow restoration and wildlife habitat improvement and the other a timber sale to promote forest health are where the bulk of the field work will be focused on. Can’t wait to to see how the summer will turn out.