Hiking 40 transects throughout the central Utah desert in 100 degree weather, getting chased and bitten by deer flies and counting cacti – this has been my fieldwork experience in a nutshell. Recently, my fellow intern and I have had the opportunity to work without the supervision of our mentor. Along with two other ACE interns, we have been collecting data for a Sclerocactus population study. In addition to the amazing adventures that being outdoors naturally brings into our lives, this project has been the most eye-opening experience thus far at this internship. Before this point I have always felt like I am really good at working in groups, mainly because I have no problem taking directions and going with the flow of other people’s decisions. These past three weeks I set myself the goal to contribute more to the execution and collection process of the study. I forced myself to speak up and be more assertive about how I feel the data should be collected. I think that practicing this sort of leadership has helped me be more decisive and confident as a field scientist and I am looking forward more than ever to what else this internship has in store for me.
Here are a few photos of the desert terrain and a cactus species we encounter on our hikes:
The beautiful, Echinocereus triglochidiatus.
Until next time,
BLM Richfield Field Office