In the recent weeks, winter has slowly released its grasp on Central Oregon. Things were so bad at one point that we recently celebrated being able to see the ground and especially grass. However, most of the snow has melted, opening up opportunities to head back out into the field and escape the doldrums of the office. At the end of the snowy period I had the opportunity to go out into the field and trek through the snow. I set up closure signs that needed to be set up for golden eagles. These signs restrict travel into areas near golden eagle nests to ensure limited disturbance to allow for successful reproduction. While heading out to the field was wonderful, hiking miles through 4-12 inch snow was slightly less fun, although it was much better after the fact than during!! Two hikes were especially tough, post-holing (sinking deeply into the snow with one leg, then extracting it, then rinse and repeat) for miles to put up signs, often without clear trail demarcations due to the deep and ubiquitous snow. I also got to to install deflectors on fences to reduce sage-grouse collisions with fences. All in all, I have really enjoyed getting back out into the field, and cannot wait for the beautiful spring weather and the emergence of the forbs.
In other news, two major events are occurring in the office. The first is a fitness challenge where teams of 7 people record the number of minutes they exercise daily and enter it into a spreadsheet. Out team is crushing it, with all of the team members greatly contributing towards the overall goal. It ends in a while, but if we can continue our momentum it looks like we are going to be on our way to victory. There is also a state-wide photo contest going on. Our office had open entries and the top three in each of the eight categories will move on to the State office and the overall voting period. I entered 8 photos, but it looks like one will move on to the state round. While I was hoping that my photos would do better, there were some great photos to contend with. Below is the photo that I believe will make it to the State round.
Well, the next few weeks are going to be full of training, so I am not sure that my next post will be terribly exciting, but I will see what I can do.