My first month of my CLM internship with the Lakeview BLM has been a whirlwind of experiences. It has been a bit of a culture shock moving from the bustling city of Minneapolis to the quiet cattle town of Lakeview within a week of graduating from college. I’m getting the hang of the “Western Wave”” and getting used to the never ending jokes about my Wisconsin accent (no, I will not say “bag” again for you).
From my experiences so far, I think the desert is the perfect place to begin my endeavors into the wonderful world of botany. The plant communities are diverse, but what you see is what is there. Other than the few forbs hiding in the sagebrush, most plants present themselves obviously to you. This is contrasting the overgrowth seen in many midwestern forest and prairie communities where you have to dig through all the green to find the plants you are searching for.
The last few weeks have been all about training. This past weekend my internship partner and I had the opportunity to travel to Bend, OR for a grass identification workshop put on by the Carex Working Group. It was an invaluable experience working alongside fellow interns from Burns as well as other colleagues from around Eastern Oregon with varying levels of knowledge and experience. We worked together to identify the characteristics of different groups of grasses and practiced keying out several specimens to species. Who knew such simple plants could have such intricate structures and specialized modifications. After all our training, all I can say is – bring on the Poas.
Fun fact for the day: Poa in Swahili means cool. Grasses ARE cool.
With the commencement of Safety Week here in Lakeview, I can now confidently say I am certified in CPR and I can change a spare tire, so that is pretty neat.
I’m excited to continue on with the Seeds of Success program and hopefully make successful collections of the Eriogonum heracleoides, Astragalus lentiginosus, Salvia dorii, and all the other fun plant populations that we have scouted out so far.
All the best,