I can’t believe it has been 8 months since I started this internship, so many experiences, events, and people I’ve encountered during my time here that it’s nothing short of astounding. I still remember on my first day in Nevada there was that terrible snow storm that just buried Reno, and now before I leave snow is once again on the mountain peaks. To be completely blunt I’m not really going to miss the weather of Nevada. That aside I’m most certainly going to miss my mentor Dean Tonnena and my fellow CLM interns who I have had the joy of working with these past few months but who I also have the honor of calling my friends. Starting with Dean he was a great mentor in that he always went out of his way to see that we had as many educational opportunities as we could. But also I learned a lot from Dean personally, for one thing I admire the fact that he is not reliant on technology like so many people I know, I mean he goes out and collects material so he can weave his own baskets and he grows his own fruits and vegetable. I have especially come to admire the fact that Dean has not once ever gotten angry or lost his nerves, he always has a calm demeanor, even when we would deal with locals who would be rude to us Dean would take no offense at all. And the interns I worked with, each of them were great. I like the fact that every one of us was different in terms of personality, work experience, education, and much more yet we were all collectively dedicated to our work in Nevada, and I can say everyone did a tremendous job at it. Also it was great to meet people my age who know who Dr. John is because none of my friends back in Oregon know who he is, so that was a plus. And what I’m especially going to miss is the Nevada landscape, it is just so beautiful watching the sun set over the hills, mountains, and prairies; there is just so much diversity here which I never realized when I first came here, and I feel that the land here has a wild, untamed quality about it and I’ve come to appreciate that.
I could go on for hours listing all the training I’ve had, all the amazing field excursions we’ve made, all the good times we’ve all had together so I’m just simply going to say this…I learned a lot, worked in many fields, had moments where things were stressful, scary, amazing, and absolutely exciting, and what I’ll take from this internship is a stronger work ethic, a new approach to life, and a eagerness to do my part in solving the environmental issues facing our planet.
Good Evening fellow CLM Interns!
I guess I’ll start with my trip to Salt Lake City for the first National Native Seed Conference. The trip from Carson City to Salt Lake City was long but I enjoyed seeing the beautiful landscapes of Nevada and Utah. Once we got to Salt Lake City I was awe struck with the beauty of the city, the parks, and neighborhoods. As we were driving to pick up our two newest interns we drove by the Mormon Temple, it is a beautiful building comparable to some amazing churches and cathedrals I have seen in my travels in Europe. Well after about an hour of driving up windy mountain roads we finally made it to the Lodge at Snowbird and the rooms were very nice. So to skip ahead to the conference it was an amazing experience, there were so many people from different fields and different agencies all coming together to give the latest information to help all the other agencies with issues such as native seed collection, native plant propagation, restoration ecology, importance of native pollinators, population genetics, and global warming. I particularly enjoyed the presentations on restoration ecology projects and information of native pollinators; all presentations are available on www.nativeseed.info
Now the past two weeks have been very busy, two weeks ago we spent three days camping out on the range helping the BLM range staff conduct a visual assessment of the health of the range. It was a lot of work but we got quite a bit done and it was an educational experience learning about conducting surveys and assessments. One of the nights we went camping was at this beautiful campsite along the shore of Pyramid Lake, it was a small grove of Willow Trees which gave us some shade and a nice change of scenery instead of the usual sight of Sagebrush. That night we burned logs of Sagebrush and Juniper, the smell coming from the fire was amazing; actually I started the campfire myself with a magnesium stick and flint with a knife, I wanted to try to be that guy from that show Man vs Wild. Last week was a full week; we were out in the field every day. Wednesday was awesome we met with members of the Fish and Wildlife Service and they took us to an island in the middle of Pyramid Lake, it is a wildlife area where pelicans go to nest, the boat ride back was amazing being out there on the water and seeing the flocks of pelicans flying alongside us was very memorable. Thursday after working with the BLM range staff again we camped at a mesa nearby, half of us camped at the mesa’s base and the rest camped on the mesa; I didn’t camp on the mesa but I did hike to the top and it was beautiful. The night we spent there was quite exciting because in the middle of the night a coyote came into our campsite and started yelping and howling not far from my tent, at first I was scared but eventually I thought the howling was kind of cool.
Well never a dull moment here in Carson City
See you all soon at the Grand Canyon
BLM, Carson City
Working here in Carson City has presented many challenges for me, both personally and professionally. First and foremost was getting used to the weather, growing up in Oregon I’m accommodated to a more mild and moist climate so moving to Nevada with such a arid environment took awhile to acclimate. I think if one were to go from Nevada to Oregon one would think that we Oregonians are amphibians by comparison because we practically live in water. Most of my other personal challenges centered around living on my own, at the beginning it was frustrating learning all about finding apartments, signing leases, setting up electricity, and the list goes on; but it does fill you with a sense of pride being self reliant and independent. One challenge for me that has been both professional and personal has been working as a part of a team. I’ve worked in teams before but nothing as structured or integrated as this, learning to be a part of a group is something that I have enjoyed very much, I feel that being part of the team here has made me a better person and a better employee.
Recently we’ve been working in the field more often and I’ve enjoyed ever minute of it; it’s great to be out there seeing amazing species of plants and animals. I’ve seen some amazing wildflowers which I never realized were out here, every day in the field has brought me to appreciate the different ecosystems of Nevada more and more. There are two particular field days which are memorable to me, the first was a day we spent in the Red Rock Range and that was memorable for several reasons, it was our first time in the field, I had a chance to learn how to use a GPS, and I loved hiking to the top of the range and seeing the whole valley and the land beyond. The second field day that was memorable to me was a weed removal and cleanup of Swan Lake near Reno, we accomplished so much that day and I found a Mallard nest purely by accident, it was perfectly concealed in the grass and there were at least 8 eggs in the nest so that was really cool.
I’m looking forward to our next adventure out here in Carson City and I hope to post a few photographs of the flora that we regularly encounter