Inspirational mugs

Hey guys,

Wow. Last blog post. This isn’t real, right? Thanksgiving is in two weeks. I will have moved to NC 5 1/2 months ago. THAT’S ALMOST HALF A YEAR. Half a year I’ve been here, working with Seeds of Success at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Half a year of traveling through Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, browsing through the flora and scouting out seed. Half a year of learning about new plants and new people. Half a year of long drives and long hours… but now, it seems so short.What a great half a year!

I’ve always considered myself as someone who is okay with moving away and okay with change. And I am… to an extent. Honestly, on a more personal note, a huge thing I learned from this opportunity is that change is good, yes, but a LOT of change at one time may be a bit overwhelming! In six months, I graduated college, moved out of state where I knew no one (living with roommates I did not know), started a 40 hours/week job (internship), have visited 60+ national wildlife refuges and state parks, have visited 3 states I had never been to, and learned about 100+ plants of which I had no previous knowledge (coastal). Luckily, I had a pretty great group of people to go through all of this with, as well as a good support group back home. It was a great experience – one I would recommend to anyone. It teaches you a lot, not only about technical things – like how to assess a population size or how to properly care for seeds after collection – but also what you are made of. You learn how you handle certain situations, like being farther away from home, or putting effort into making new friends. Sometimes it was hard! I would miss the mountains or my friends and family. I’ve been home more times living 7 hours away than I would go home an entire semester when I was in school (an hour and a half from home). This internship has taught me a lot about the field I would love to dive into as a career but also about how much I’m willing to change for that kind of opportunity.

Making a seed shipment! Confusing stuff! (even when you make an excel file - ha!)

Making a seed shipment! Confusing stuff! (even when you make an excel file – ha!)

Cenchrus tribuloides - sandbur! Ouch.

Cenchrus tribuloides – sandbur! Ouch.

Chamaecyparis thyoides - Atlantic white cedar. Looks like we have a lot of money, right? :) This stuff smells like CHRISTMAS!

Chamaecyparis thyoides – Atlantic white cedar. Looks like we have a lot of money, right? 🙂 This stuff smells like CHRISTMAS!

This is Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary & Center in the outer banks. It MIGHT be haunted, but it's lovely.

This is Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary & Center in the outer banks. It MIGHT be haunted, but it’s lovely.

I've never studied mycology, but this fella was found in the dunes, and the inside was purple.

I’ve never studied mycology, but this fella was found in the dunes, and the inside was purple.

Bright colored Liquidambar styriciflua - sweetgum in Maryland!

Bright colored Liquidambar styriciflua – sweetgum in Maryland!

Little baby plant embryo :)

Little baby plant embryo 🙂

A beautiful sunset while collecting Solidago sempervirens - seaside goldenrod.

A beautiful sunset while collecting Solidago sempervirens – seaside goldenrod.

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All of the paper bags and trays were filled with plants/seeds from a week of collection!

All of the paper bags and trays were filled with plants/seeds from a week of collection!

Beautiful color from Ilex glabra - inkberry. My hands are still stained from cleaning this :)

Beautiful color from Ilex glabra – inkberry. My hands are still stained from cleaning this 🙂

All in all, this was truly a great experience. I learned so so much, and I met some really great people along the way. It doesn’t feel like it should be ending just yet. But, I will say that I’m ready to spend the holiday season with my friends and family back home:)

To anyone reading this who may be thinking about taking a CLM internship – do it. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn and grow as a person and a conservation worker. Don’t let anything I’ve said scare you. It’s GOOD to put yourself out there and discover what you are made of and what you hold dear to your heart. You will meet like minded people who want the same things as you! That’s special. Plus, the change is exciting! You won’t regret it.

Good luck to everyone with their future endeavors!

Melanie

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