Bye for now

Now that my CLM Internship is coming to a close, I am both sad and excited to be moving on.

For my next job, I will be working for the National Audubon Society out in California. I have never been to California, so I am looking forward to what new adventures await me. The work there will be focused on invasive species removal and will be very labor intensive.

I am grateful for the unique experience this CLM Internship has brought me; from the hands-on data collection out in the field to working in a BLM Office environment.

I hope everyone who has the opportunity to apply for this internship will do so, and I hope everyone who makes it into the program will have as much fun as I did.


Monthly Update

Less than a month left of my internship here in New Mexico and oh the adventures I have had. Currently I am getting ready for a weekend trip to the Grand Canyon and I could not be more excited! I cannot wait to watch the sunrise and sunset over the canyon, and to roast marshmallows on the fire.

I have made a few more collections since last time. Now I am mostly waiting for the cool season grasses to go to seed, including Sporobolus cryptandrus, Bouteloua gracilis, and Sporobolus giganteus.

Other than seed collections, I have been involved in some volunteer days here at the Bureau of Land Management. One involved working in the community by painting fences, landscaping, and organizing records. Another day I went out and picked up trash at a local recreation area with over 100 community volunteers.

Wish I could keep typing, but I have to finish packing for the Grand Canyon!


Always an Upside

The temperature has started to cool of here in New Mexico, making the days more pleasant. Fall has always been my favorite season and I cannot wait to experience the changes here.

I have made a few more seed collections since my last post. My favorite collection so far was of Erysimum asperum. This lovely wallflower has yellow flowers and stems that surpass all the sagebrush around. Their seeds come in pods and are extremely small with an orange sunset color. These wallflower seeds were so cool to pick up and hold in your hand, also fairly easy to collect!

The monsoon rains everyone keeps hoping for have not made their appearance this year, causing major setbacks in seed production. On the upside, our mentor has gotten a permit to collect in the San Juan National Forest in Southern Colorado. There we have been able to make 3 seed collections so far in a beautiful mountain meadow.

Less than 2 months left in my CLM Internship and I cannot wait to see where they lead me. Hopefully I will have pictures for my next post.

Always an Adventure

Only three months left of my internship and I cannot believe how quickly time is moving. Right now there is a lull in seeding plants, so I have been able to help out other groups in the office with their projects.

Over the past few weeks I have been involved in several riparian assessments. It is important to monitor riparian areas to make sure they are functioning properly, due to their high ecological value. These areas help filter the water of sediments and other pollutants, reduce soil erosion, dissipate energy from the stream, and support unique plant and animal communities.

Currently I am packing for the Annual Native Plant Society of New Mexico Meeting in Santa Fe. There I will learn about the society and meet other people who are passionate about native plant species. Along with lectures and workshops, there are many field trips organized to go out and explore the surrounding natural areas.

Below I have included my favorite picture of the month. This was taken at the De-Na-Zin Wilderness area. I have been enjoying my time in Farmington, NM and look forward to the coming months.

Botanic Garden

What a great week to write my blog post! I just got back from the Conservation and Land Management Internship Training held in Chicago. This week-long orientation/training was filled with learning new information, meeting new people, and seeing new sights. The workshop was held in the Chicago Botanic Garden, which is absolutely gorgeous. Such a variety of plants can be viewed in these 385 acres and I was fortunate to see most of them.

Connecting with the other interns in the program throughout the week was invaluable. I enjoyed listening to their stories and seeing the differences in our jobs, but more importantly the similarities. Being able to see that I was linked to an entire community of individuals spread across the country showed me the importance of this project.

Having the gardens as the backdrop for the week was incredible. I was like a kid in a candy store every time I had a spare moment to go explore the grounds. My all time favorite plant from the gardens was an Allium, pictured below. Their flowers reminded me of a Dr. Seuss Book and how unique each living thing can truly be.

Only 4 months left of my Internship here in Farmington, NM and I am astonished at how quickly time is moving. I had a great time in Chicago and am now looking forward to getting back and gathering more seed collections for the Seeds of Success Program.

A Change of Scenery

While road tripping out to New Mexico from Michigan, I realized there would be a lot of changes in my life. Going from The Great Lakes State filled with forests, agriculture, and well, lots of water, to the Land of Enchantment filled with mesas, canyons, ranges, and not so much water. The landscapes, the plant species, the people, all would be different. Moving from my Forestry background into the realm of Botany through the Seeds of Success Program was also a major change. I was used to looking up and taking notice of the different trees around me, but I now had to be trained to look down and observe the vegetation growing at my feet.

In spite of all the differences, however, there are an astonishing amount of similarities. Learning a new species, whether it is a tree, shrub, forb, or flower, requires the same skills. First you have to be able to identify all of the different features of the target species and then be able to classify what you are seeing. Botany has its own set of terminology just like any other specialty, you just have to be patient and take the time to learn the language. At first the new vocabulary was daunting, but I soon started to grasp an understanding of the field, which has grown into an appreciation for these smaller plants.

The Four Corners Region is a beautiful area full of history and adventure. I am very excited to be working for my mentor in the Bureau of Land Management and cannot wait to see where these next 5 months of my CLM Internship take me

Largo Canyon in New Mexico