SOS!…….Help, with the SOS Collections

Hoping that everyone is having a wonderful summer so far!

Being stationed at the BLM in Salmon, ID as the first CLM interns in the office means that everyone is just as lost in the protocol for SOS as we are. While the workshop at the gardens helped to ease some of the confusion, going out for our first time to collect with no one but ourselves seemed like a daunting task.

Luckily the week before the workshop we went on a tour of our field office with the Idaho State Botanist, Ann DeBolt and we mentioned to her that part of our internship was to do SOS collections. She thought it was great that we were able to help out with the program. We told her that we were a little weary of starting the collections, and she had the brilliant idea to send us help.

Dick and Sandy are retirees that have been working with the SOS program in Boise, for 6 years and counting. Both have had a lifelong affair with nature. Dick worked for his whole career in the Forest Service, and Sandy’s career has been as a Botanist. Needless to say, they really know their plants. Thankfully they were able to drive up to Salmon, and stay for a few days to help us do collections.


With their knowledge we were able to do four collections in just 2 days, and on top of that they scouted out several other sites with in our field office that would make prime collection sites. They filled the day with tips on pressing plants, soil testing, and specimen collections, they entertained us with delightful stories about their time in Idaho and their time working in the government. And their trusty side kick Casey the golden retriever gave us some much needed dog snuggles.

With their help we are now much more confident with our SOS skills, and I fully believe that this summer would not go as smoothly if it wasn’t for their initial guidance and help. Thanks again guys!

Happy collecting everyone!


Sierra Sampson

BLM- Salmon, ID

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