It would hardly be a lie to say that my job consists of driving around and looking at plants. That is the casual answer I have prepared for friends and family from the east coast who politely ask what, exactly, I am doing in Oregon. It would be closer to the truth to say that my first week as an intern has been a quick introduction to land management topics and plant identification and monitoring. We have identified and recorded a population of rare plants, taken a tour of recently burned timber sales, and learned how to recognize countless native and non-native grasses and herbs.
(Our first day in the field, finding and recording the size of a threatened Kincaid’s Lupine population.)
So far, my attempts at identifying unknown plants with a dichotomous key have met very little success, but I think improvement is just around the corner. After a week of whirlwind introductions and training, I have learned one thing above all else: I enjoy the work here and will keep getting better at it.
After all, when this is your office, what’s not to enjoy?
From the Bureau of Land Management office in Roseburg, Oregon.