(Insert witty title here)


Things have tamed down a little bit here at the Klamath Field Office. Most of the projects that usually take place during the season, aren’t, so Jeff and I have been delving into some new projects of our own.

One such project that I’ve started working on involves taking x-rays of sucker fish and categorizing them by number of vertebrates. Eventually, the x-rays that I’ve saved will be used in morphometric analysis in order to see the shapes of specific types of species of sucker fish! How cool!

Another project involves taking juvenile sucker fish to some designated ponds and performing an experiment to see what results in the highest levels of survival. We designed four floating cages with three smaller cages inside each of those. The cages will float at the surface of the water and the fish will be placed inside. Each of the smaller cages will provide a controlled environment where we can manipulate what is taking place inside. We are thinking we will have our control (nothing in the cage), a cage with vegetation, and a cage with only silt on the bottom. We are really looking forward to getting this project rolling!

From these same ponds, we have been collecting water samples and observing zooplankton under microscopes. We have looked at a LOT. OF. ZOOPLANKTON. They are incredibly interesting, though, and really get the wheels turning about how often you forget about this magical microscopic world that is happening all around you all of the time (and also of all of the strange creatures that swim in the water with you).

Yesterday, Jeff and I went electro-fishing at Gerber Reservoir in Northern California and it was my first time! We didn’t get any suckers, but we got a few minnows. It was great practice for future electro-fishing. We also came across some petroglyphs and got to do some hiking along a stream making observations and twiddling away in our notebooks.

All work and no play makes Marissa a dull girl.

Other than work shenanigans, life in Oregon has been pretty spectacular! I’ve been trying to explore as much as possible! Jeff and I just got some piercings, too (his ear lobe and my nose)! Klamath Falls is a fun city with a great night life and a lot of recreational activities in the area. I couldn’t ask for anything more ūüôā

Marissa – Klamath Falls, OR – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Update from Prineville

It has been a while since I last posted, but things haven’t really changed too much. ¬†The major news is that the golden eagle nest that I have been closely monitoring has produced 2 chicks that have survived. ¬†They should have fledged a couple weeks ago, but still are hanging out at the nest, apparently reluctant to head out into the real world (I get where they are coming from). ¬†This was a major victory for us, as the eagles in this area have been unsuccessful many consecutive years, presumably due to climbers in close proximity. ¬†To celebrate the occasion I even made a cake (I am going to bring it into the office tomorrow).

In other non-eagle related news, I just got a new work truck.  While I really loved my 2012 white Chevy, after a short drive from Portland back to the office, I have really come to fall in love with my sparkling new 2017 Ford F-150.  Starting off with only 5 miles on it, I should be able to add some miles this summer!!  I am sure the whole wildlife department are also going to be quite happy in the upgrade to the truck.

In terms of what I am doing now, I have finished up a flurry of bat-related work and am going to go back to Juniper clearances to improve habitat for sage-grouse.  For the bats, I set up acoustic detectors and then return then next day to collect them and the memory cards which stored the recorded calls.  I also got to go out mist netting with my boss, although I was not able to handle bats due to my lack of a rabies shot.  This was really fun and I even got some cool photos and some video.

Townsend’s Big Eared Bat

Cool video of a bat flying away (sorry that you have to download it and then open it).


All in all things are going quite well as we make our way into the heart of summer.  Hopefully, the work continues to be diverse and diverting through the rest of the year!

High and dry, with a side of unexpected waterfalls: Tales from the Land of Enchantment

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

What is enchantment, exactly? Is it reflected in the arc of a rainbow over the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountain range at sunset. Or is it some kind of ether, which rises like the rich resinous incense of pinyon-juniper woodlands after a monsoon rain? Perhaps enchantment is something more elusive, like the spirits of ancient cliff dwellers who vanished before the Conquistadors even stepped foot within their ancestral canyons. And yet sometimes enchantment is impossible to ignore, like the hypnotic palpitations of a powwow drum and the flash of dancers retracing the traditions of millennia with their footsteps. Enchantment is fleeting, but grips like the first taste of red chile on the tongue.

Aspen groves and Castilleja spp.

Over a month has progressed since the start of my internship in Santa Fe, New Mexico.¬†In that highly concentrated burst of time, my sense of enchantment has only increased as I become more acquainted with this place. My journey has taken me southward from Montana State University, to my homeland in Idaho, all the way the the Southernmost tip of the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. I am grateful to be¬†placed in a location at the intersection of such incredible natural and cultural beauty. The mountains, rivers, and hot springs remind me of Idaho… and yet everything else feels so foreign. I was surprised to learn that New Mexico is a biodiversity hotspot, due to its location at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains, Southwestern¬†plateaus, Chihuahuan desert, and Great Plains. And yet in encountering¬†the life that abounds in this arid landscape, I am not surprised at all. The flora of the mountains and sagebrush steppe comforts me with the familiarity of a common biogeographic link.¬†But the desert is new. From the sandy mesquite of the Chihuahua, to the high sagebrush and juniper of the plateaus, the desert entices my botanical senses with an onslaught of spiny, scratchy, and surprising greenery, insistent on growing in spite of the harsh sun and erratic rainfall.

Typical Chihuahuan desert view, with Opuntia spp.

Zinnia grandiflora, looking quite happy to be growing in the sand

Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) graces the desert with its Dr. Seuss-like fluffs

Monk’s hood (Aconitum columbianum) grows along a lush stream in the mountains.

Alpine sunflower (Hymenoxys grandiflora) lights up the scree above treeline

Pika striking a pose – eeeeek!

Aquilegia spp. next to some gneiss rock

Dasylirium wheeleri – a Yucca look-alike with an epic inflorescence of wormy green flowers

Western Diamondback – thank God for rattles!

My internship with the BLM in Santa Fe¬†is not only introducing me to many new ecoregions, but also to several programs critical to plant conservation in New Mexico. Under our mentor Zoe, my fellow interns and I are responsible for carrying out the Seeds of Success program and also for creating new rare plant monitoring protocols for species of critical concern. I enjoy splitting my time between these two very different and similarly rewarding tasks. With the excellent guidance of Ella, a second year SOS intern,¬†I am collecting and scouting for seeds from a variety of native species. In New Mexico, the BLM has partnered with the Institute for Applied Ecology to forge the Southwest Seed Alliance. Together, we are helping to increase accessibility to regional seed stocks. With each seed plucked, I am become aware of its contribution to conservation of Southwestern botanical biodiversity. Even the peskiest of seeds soon scratch a place into my heart when I appreciate that they will be assisting restoration somewhere down the road. The other aspect of work, monitoring rare plants, is an immersion into the life history and conservation challenges of each individual species – many of which are lacking any demographic data whatsoever! Gathering the first insights into the predicament¬†of rare species instills a sense of relevance and urgency to the work. Quoting Dr. Seuss inspiration, “We speak for the plants!”. After hours of¬†scouring the desert floor for¬†Brack’s cactus (Scherocactus cloverae ssp. brackeii),¬†we did indeed start¬†speaking to the plants.

A fairly large Brack’s cactus (Schlerocatus cloverae subsp. brackeii) hides from the scourge of wild horses, gas development, and disoriented botanists


After a month of enchanting experiences, I have surrendered the urge to summarize. But I would like to part with a particularly magical experience we had while camping in Chaco Canyon National Historic Park. Upon returning from an after work hike, thunder rolled into the canyon and a sprinkle quickly turned into a deluge. I took shelter in my soaking tent, bathed for the first time in a week. From my polyester cocoon, the pelting of the rain fly rose to a distant roar. Curious about the noise, I unzipped the tent and beheld three cascades rushing over the amphitheater walls, bone dry just minutes before. In its wake, the passing storm left a rainbow and breathtaking mammatus clouds, and a clear announcement of the monsoon season underway. More tales to come!


In exploration,

Samuel Larkin

(Help: Titles are hard)

The collecting season is in full swing within the Shoshone Field Office as Patricia and I have already completed 8 collections! Among my favorites was Eriogonum sphaerocephalum due to the satisfying sensation of stripping those perfectly ripe heads off, sometimes multiple at a time. *ohh yeahh*

Although I have been very busy with work (lots of driving, sweating, checking seed quality, and more sweating), most of my photos were taken during my days off (holy cow, Idaho has been showing off: see below).

I’ve been improving in my ability to assess seed¬†ripeness and quality but have not had much time to¬†hunt for or key unknowns. I feel that SOS can only advance my botanical knowledge so¬†far, so I hope to find time to learn more of the non-target flora throughout the rest of the summer. However, I’ve been fortunate to have several¬†exciting opportunities including¬†leading a nature walk for 4Hers, sampling for beetles in the roots of¬†Eriogonum spp., rare plant monitoring (Downingia bacigalupii¬†&¬†Astragalus oniciformis),¬†and touring the Lucky Peak Nursery.

Here are some of my favorite recent photos:

One of many Wyethia helianthoides found in a subalpine meadow while leading a nature walk for kids at a local 4H camp (North of Ketchum, ID)

Sunset over the Sawtooth Mountains from our epic July 4th weekend camping spot (Lower Stanley, ID)

Backpacking trip day 1: Goat Falls (a few hundred feet below Goat Lake, Sawtooth Mtns)

Day 2: Our snowy abode at Goat Lake to celebrate (fellow CBG intern/roommate/outdoor adventure queen) Savanna’s birthday, complete with a morning polar plunge — ouch

Day 3: Beautiful fields of lupines, Castilleja, Balsalmorhiza sagitatta, and Calochortus nuttallii on the decent towards Red Fish Lake (Stanley, ID)

SOS Partner and fellow lover of the outdoors, Patricia, in her native habitat (same meadow as above)

Calochortus nuttallii always brightens my day <3

The morning sun while collecting Purshia tridentata; not the worst place one could work

Savanna crushing the nation’s “steepest 5.10” with the Snake River in the background

Until next time, you can bet I’ll be harvesting seed, sweating profusely, and taking more panoramas that fail to capture Idaho’s true beauty.

Washouts and Wildfires

I decided to wait on a blog-worthy chain of events to share for my next post, and, on the day of the CLM reminder email, a field day like no other provided the perfect opportunity to share an experience with wildland fire, teamwork and communication.

After an amazing Tahoe 4th of July and Yosemite weekend with my family, I was ready to kick off the week with a multi-day fieldwork stint of seed scouting and collection.  Our mentor whipped out the topo maps and directed us on areas of interest to cover over the next two days.  We planned to scout a large swath of BLM land north of Reno in the Virginia Mountains for populations of Psuedoroegneria spicata, Leymus cinerus, Tetradymia glabrata, and Purshia tridentata, with an end goal of camping on the western shores of Pyramid Lake.  After reading about the current Red Flag Warning (conditions ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread) in the region, my team and I ran a few concerns by our mentor.  Using a live updated ArcGIS Online map to review the current fires in the region, we agreed that the benefits of a scouting/collection trip into Long Valley outweighed the chance risk of running into an active fire.  This was the start to an exceptionally long day.

Current Fires in the CCDO Region

We reached Long Valley in the Virginia Mountains just east of Doyle, CA by mid-morning and called Minden Dispatch to inform them of our field plans and location.  In the hope of finding collectible populations, we searched flats, hillsides and swales for signs of our priority species. Unfortunately, most of the target populations we found were outside of the optimal collecting period.  We continued making notes and collecting baseline data on the status of the local populations as we made our way to the northwest corner of Pyramid Lake.  Pyramid Lake is a diamond in the rough, almost unbelievable at first sight.  The vast blue lake covers a surface area larger than Lake Tahoe and in the middle of a mixed Sagebrush-Salt Desert Shrub system! Fascinated by the pyramid-esque rock formations jutting out of the vibrant water, we proceeded south along the western shore of the lake until encountering road-closed highway blockers fencing off a washed out drainage line.  The unusually precipitous winter gouged out a large section of road and flow infrastructure across a stream leaving the only south-bound road impassable.  We decided to backtrack for cellular service to contact our mentor with an update.

Driving back north and west, slightly frustrated with the washout, one of my co-interns excitedly yells out “Super-Scooper!!” and points out over Pyramid Lake.¬† A medium sized aircraft lined up with the water surface and dipped down to fill its 1600 gallon holding tank with water, all without reducing speed or landing!¬†¬† Three of these amphibious firefighting aircraft, recently deployed by regional fire offices, continued to make water runs right over our heads.¬† It took a second for the “WOW this is so cool” excitement to pass before we realized where they were heading.¬† After filling up on water the planes headed west over some nearby hills towards a new column of smoke, directly in line with the areas we surveyed earlier that morning.

Long Valley Fire from the North

We returned to the far edge of Long Valley, overlooking a full playa lake, to gape at the growing fire less than 10 miles away.  We scrambled to turn on our handheld radios as the updates came in from the local station flooded with activity.  We heard the road names Hacks Cross, Turtle Mountain and Fort Sage OHV Area, the exact route we used to enter from the 395 freeway.  Super Scooper after Super Scooper arrived to dump thousands of gallons onto the fire lines to prevent the fire from reaching Doyle.  With the nervous energy rising among the team, we called our mentor to inform him of the situation.  We pulled out our land cover maps to find an alternate safe route back to 395.  We called in to Minden Dispatch to update them on our position.  We contacted the fire lead for our field office, who thought our planned route out of the area safe and gave us the go ahead.  After an hour of phone tag, map routing, and fire gazing, we started on a long drive north out of Long Valley, around Honey Lake almost to Susanville, and back south on 395 to Carson City.

This day taught me about the risk of unanticipated circumstances creating potentially dangerous situations in the field.¬† The washout and wildfire provided us an opportunity to practice effective communication and teamwork under stress and adrenaline.¬† I learned that following safety protocol does make a difference in the field. However, moving forward, I’m keeping my eyes on the horizon.

Long Valley Fire Map

Connor Kotte

Carson City District Office – NV BLM



Milkweeds and Seeds

Last week was my first week back at work after getting married to my sweetheart. The wedding was a blast, and if you want to see a video of our surprise first dance choreography, search “Gretchen and Derek’s First Dance Surprise” on Youtube.

The plants grew a lot while I was gone, and it is hotter than heck here with heat indices above 100 F. I have been working on various projects, including the beginnings of seed collection for the brown eyed susan (Rudbeckia grandiflora) and the pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida)! Luckily we happened to be around the seed orchard when other FS folks started mowing… we flagged around areas we wanted to save to collect seed from, and a subsequent visit confirmed that they had done a good job of respecting the flagging.

Echinacea pallida aka pale purple coneflower at the USFS seed orchard

Susan, Terry and I drove out to the Poteau district’s pine-bluestem restoration area. They told me about how logging can be part of the restoration if done properly and combined with controlled burns and other management strategies. I saw red cockaded woodpecker trees, some with inserts to help the birds have fast accommodations, but didn’t see any birds that day. We scouted out a good place for me to collect more R. grandiflora seeds and checked on red ringed milkweed along the road that they have been monitoring. Most milkweed plants only produce one pod if any, but we saw one individual with SIX PODS! Susan wants to collect milkweed seed, so this is great.

Asclepias variagata aka red ringed milkweed along the road in the Poteau district.

Another thing I did last week was check on the milkweed plantings in the seed orchard. Many of them were not doing very well. They were covered in milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). Susan made a spray with vegetable oil and Dawn dish soap in water. I sprayed many of them but couldn’t get to them all on that day. This morning I did a little research though, and it seems that milkweed bugs don’t tend to really harm milkweed. The problem might be something else like aphids, drought or fungus.

Planted milkweed not doing well, with milkweed bugs and aphids?

Tomorrow we are going to help out with vegetation monitoring with the Nature Conservancy. Something new! Signing off for now. Take care y’all!




Enchanted Green Chile Sunrise

The beauty of the desert only shows itself when you open your eyes. Over a month ago, I left my home in rural New Jersey to embark on an adventure in a ‚Äúnew‚ÄĚ place: Santa Fe, NM. While one might think that time moves slowly in the heat of the desert, this past month has flown by. Completely awe struck by the beauty of open skies with clouds seemingly frozen in place, mountains tinged purple by the setting sun, and the overwhelming diversity¬†of plants and critters, the reality of living in such a beautiful place has finally set in.

Angel Peak, NM

I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work with the BLM State Office in Santa Fe designing and establishing monitoring plots for rare plants across the state. Our first week involved revisiting and setting up plots for Townsendia gypsophila, an adorable aster that grows on gypsum deposits and may be threatened by recreation, development, and other disturbance. Brainstorming monitoring protocols and performing sample statistics proves to be rather difficult in the harsh, and particularly hot, landscape of northern-central New Mexico.

Gypsum-loving Townsend’s Daisy (Townsendia gypsophila)

The following weekend I traveled to the CLM Workshop and experienced the busy city of Chicago. Meeting so many fellow passionate nature nerds was really enlightening and made the workshop very enjoyable! On the flip side, being in the lush deciduous forest and (un)bearable humidity of Illinois made me slightly homesick for the northeast. Flying back to Santa Fe over the Rocky Mountains and Great Sand Dunes brightened these thoughts and solidified my excitement to be back to work.

View from Lake Peak, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, NM

The past few weeks were spent in Carlsbad, NM; a place that isn’t that bad. It was incredibly rewarding to work with the Carlsbad Field Office in setting up monitoring plots for the endangered G1 species Eriogonum gypsophilum. It was rather remarkable to reflect on the fact that these gypsum drainages are the only place where this plant is known to occur in the entire world. Despite the 110 degree days, dangerous hydrogen sulfide, and thorny mesquite and creosote, the experience made me greatly appreciate the importance of multi-use public land and the ability to integrate plants and wildlife into the mix.

Gypsum Buckwheat (Eriogonum gypsophilum)

Aside from work, I’ve spent most of my time eating red and green chile-smothered food (always order christmas), bagging peaks, cliff jumping, dancing to groovy music, and enjoying the magical atmosphere of New Mexico. This coming week I’m looking forward to working with the miniature Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii and experiencing the intense monsoon season!

Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum) in the Pecos Wilderness.

Adorable red squirrel in the Pecos Wilderness.

Cooper’s Hawk at the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve.


BLM New Mexico State Office – Santa Fe, NM


Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam

So, here’s a fun fact about me: I am a descendant of Brewster M. Higley VI, who wrote the lyrics for “Home on the Range”. The song is about his Kansas home that he acquired land for through the Homestead Act of 1862. He then built a peaceful cabin overlooking the property, where he retreated during troublesome times.

Many times in my own life I have retreated into the wilderness to find peace and comfort. It wasn’t until I moved from Connecticut to Wyoming that I really understood his lyrics (below) , and marveled at similar western sites.

“Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day”,

Everything about the West was foreign to me up until a month ago when I drove thousands of miles to get here. Throughout my journey, I experienced the landscape, the flora and fauna and the culture changing drastically as I traveled west. The landscape was dry and barren, antelope played in the sagebrush lowlands, and elk congregated on mountainous, snowy summits. Cows grazed freely on public lands, and people were friendlier. Everyone wanted to know how I was doing, where I was going, and what my story was. Needless to say, I didn’t meet a single person with a discouraging word to say. And the sky certainly is big and blue most days. All of these things were very different to me, but what was most shocking was how quickly it felt like home.

View of my new home from the top of Heart Mountain in Powell, WY

I quickly fell in love with the mountains all around me. I sought out adventure after adventure, and found that there was still so much to explore. And when I finally made it to Yellowstone, I felt how special it was to be where the buffalo roam. They are bigger than I ever could have imagined. When they get really close to the road, I still marvel at their sheer size. They are kind of adorable in a terrifying and majestic kind of way. But I am glad that the Wyoming state flag has their image on it, for their vast herds are one of Wyoming’s many treasures. And I am extremely thankful to be living where the buffalo roam freely.

A buffalo from my first trip into Yellowstone

While I do miss my family immensely, my next goal will be to find a job that will let me stay in the area longer so I can continue to explore Wyoming’s beauty while still working my way towards a more long term goal. That long term goal is finding a permanent job in an area I like, with people I like, doing something I enjoy. I am both loving and hating how vague that goal is at the moment.

Some days I feel like I know exactly what I’m doing, and other days I feel completely lost and often wonder, “what am I doing here?”.

Here’s what I have learned about what I’d like to do next:

-I would like to keep working in the field of environmental interpretation and recreation.¬†I love connecting with the public and teaching them a bit of natural history wherever I may be. I also enjoy encouraging them to explore and recommending certain cites or activities in the area that would help them do so. I’ve been thinking about applying to a few park ranger positions, but I really don’t want to leave the area for awhile longer if I can help it. I love my field office, the location, the people, the management. However, at the end of my internship in 4 months, that may be enough time to move on and try living somewhere else for a bit. Luckily, that is quite easy to do with seasonal work.

Here’s what I’m still uncertain about:

-When I will go back to school and what for. Maybe being a park ranger will work out, maybe it won’t. If it doesn’t perhaps that will help me narrow down what I’d like to go back to school for and lead to a certain time frame as well.

At the end of the day, I know this is exactly where I need to be right now. And I feel very thankful to have this opportunity to work with wonderful people, in such a beautiful, fun area and learn about myself in the process.

Melissa Higley

Recreation Intern

Bureau of Land Management ~ Cody Field Office

Dead Stick Botany

As my coworker so eloquently put it, we are officially entering “dead stick botany season” here in northern Wyoming. As if learning how to identify grasses for the first time wasn’t difficult enough, learning to identify dead or dry grasses has proven to be quite the challenge for me. But, flowering plants are still abound and much easier to find in a key than grasses are. Even this late in the season, there are some angiosperms here still doing their flowering thang. Check it:

Rush skeletonweed (Chondrilla juncea)

Not an angiosperm, but that’s fine. Horned lizards are the state reptile of Wyoming.

Now that we are in the full swing of the field season, our crew has officially gotten a groove going. Each day, we arrive at the field office early to beat the heat, load our truck and head out to one of our ninety-something randomized field sites to collect species richness, canopy gap and soil data. Once we’ve finished with data collection, we return to the Buffalo BLM Field Office and complete entering the data into DIMA (an online database specific to the type of monitoring we do).

Amiah (CLM intern) looking at canopy gaps along a transect we established.

Dominic (BLM hydrologist) working the spud bar as we try to get a 30″ soil pit dug. Camille and Amiah (CLM interns) in the background carry out the Line Point Intercept method along a transect to collect species inventory of the site. I like my job.

Soon enough, most plants will no longer have obviously identifiable features and our ID season will come to an end. After speaking with my supervisor, I learned once it becomes too difficult to¬†identify plants in the field, all us interns have the option to work with the rest of the office departments and explore other interests we may have such as wildlife biology, hydrology, mineral rights, GIS, etc. I’m not entirely sure what interest I’ll end up exploring, but I’m absolutely looking forward to new experiences.

Dynamic Ecosystems

I got into Susanville, California to start my internship with the Bureau of¬†Land Management¬†just about three weeks ago after driving north through the¬†Mojave desert and northern Sierra Nevadas. As an east coaster, my tour through the west has been an eye opening experience. Over the past month, I’ve seen Joshua trees, many many dusty towns miles from nowhere, and more sagebrush than I can shake a hand lens at. Since starting my drive out west, I have been feeling pretty out of my element. I have spent a lot of time thinking back to the lush moistness of New England’s Appalachians where I grew up. The dryness and vastness of the west are pretty new to me.

Still, I can already feel the sagebrush steppe –¬†where I have been working – growing on me. I am pretty sure that the best place to make a new ecosystem feel like home is to be thrown out there for six to eight hours a day intensely studying plants. We have been out in the field for most of our days so far. One of my favorite days so far has been exploring the Pine Dunes north of our office near the small town of Ravendale (population 20).The Pine Dunes are¬†a unique ecosystem with about 40-50 Ponderosa¬†pines growing in the middle of the inhospitable sandy desert. No one really knows why there are Ponderosa pines in the middle of the desert, but our mentor hypothesizes that there was a short period when the desert flooded, simultaneously exposing long-buried pine cones and providing them with the moisture to germinate and establish. While we were out there, we also found an odd-ball stand of willow shrubs perched atop a dune. I wonder if these too established themselves during a single wet season.

The beautiful Pine Dunes north of our field office

Our mentor used the term dynamic to describe these kinds of ecosystems. Ecosystems are constantly changing and working in restoration ecology, we need to remember this. This invites us to think about what we are restoring when we go to rehabilitate an ecosystem. Do we restore it to how it was 10 years ago? 50 years? 100 years? 1,000 years? Some might say that we should try to return landscapes to how they were before human contact. But I think that is problematic because there were people living on this continent for millennia before the arrival of Europeans and with the genocide of native Americans, so too went a wealth of knowledge about the continent’s ecosystems. So, we really don’t know what this continent looked like before human contact. Does it matter? Should we be striving to minimize any human contact on the land? Or should we be trying to figure out a way to make contact with the land without destroying it?

-Susanville Bureau of Land Management

Oh and did I mention that we went to the Redwoods over 4th of July weekend?