Well I’m a little over halfway into my internship here in Cedar City, Utah, and it’s been quite a ride so far! Aside from performing habitat assessments and using radio telemetry to locate greater sage-grouse in the challenging desert environment, I’ve also been fortunate enough to help with prairie dog trappings for plague studies, conduct Mexican Spotted Owl and nightjar surveys in beautiful canyons, assist with avian mist-netting in Santa Clara, learn how to band hummingbirds in Bryce Canyon, become ATV-certified, and attend the amazing CLM Workshop at the Grand Canyon! The lessons I learned and the experiences I shared at the workshop are ones that I will always remember 🙂 A BIG THANKS needs to go out to everyone who helped organize that trip, especially to Krissa and Marian! It was great meeting some of my fellow interns and getting to see such beautiful places. I felt like I grew a lot during that week and am truly honored to have been a part of it.
Sometimes it's just easier riding out to preferred locations for our telemetry assignments 🙂
Banding birds in Santa Clara!
A group of us interns on Shoshone Point in the Grand Canyon! A brief storm had rolled in & left us with that stunning rainbow.
During my time here at the BLM Cedar City Field Office I’ve really enjoyed the variety of tasks involved with this position. My co-worker, Michelle Downey, and I have helped other field groups with their project clearance evaluations, vegetation transects and prairie dog surveys. It’s great to see the other project areas and get a feel for the different aspects associated with this job. Having a broader understanding of the research that goes into saving our wildlife is one of the best things I could take away from this journey. I’ve always been a firm believer in preserving natural resources and working towards species survival, but now I’m learning the more productive ways of achieving those goals.
Coming up in the next couple months, Michelle and I will collaborate with other BLM employees and complete Riparian Proper Functioning Condition assessments [PFC] among other assignments. I really like doing PFC assessments since we get to spend our days admiring beautiful streams and monitoring their form and function. We’ll also get to work with rangeland health teams and check out soil trends and keep track of the wildlife use on such lands. Carrying out Little Creek Fisheries stream surveys, where we’ll be tracking perennial streams and fish populations, is also on our agenda. Later this week we’ll be volunteering with the Cedar City Wild Horse Adoption and I’m super excited about spending time with such gorgeous animals! I hope many become adopted and live amazing lives…I love that I could have something to do with making that happen. Eventually we could also be performing pygmy rabbit surveys which I think would be so much fun! As you can tell, I’m really embracing every opportunity that has come my way out here in the beautiful West!
Seasonal Wildlife Technician
BLM – Cedar City Field Office
Hi! Well, this is my first out-of-state internship and I was really nervous to embark on such an adventure. Leaving all of my family and friends in Michigan and deciding to live 1,800 miles away was one of the hardest things I have ever done. However, once I caught sight of the breath-taking mountains and the lands teeming with wildlife, I finally felt okay. I’ve only been working for about three weeks here in Cedar City, Utah, but I already absolutely love it! Being able to explore mountains and valleys and venture through habitats I have never been exposed to have allowed me to change on a rather personal level. It’s almost as if the world’s natural beauty has opened my eyes to experience the beauty in my everyday life. I now tend to notice the little pleasures around me.
I’ve also acquired many new skills here as well. I now know how to navigate using a GPS and quad maps. This has proven to be extremely vital when we’re out in the field and the nearest city could be a hundred miles away. I also know how to use radio telemetry to locate the collared Greater Sage Grouse at known leks [breeding ground for a particular animal species]. Probably one of the more exciting moments here on the job was when I heard the very first beep of the first bird we found. We ended up flushing the male, along with four other males and one female, and seeing them all take flight at once was very thrilling.
I would have to say that my favorite moment here so far was when I was able to visit a lek early one morning and actually watch the Greater Sage Grouse courtship displays. My fellow co-workers and I saw around seven males all puffing out their white-crested chests and sticking out their pointed tail feathers. They were also emitting a deep thumping sound that to me sounded like a low heart beat. We only saw one female present and she disappeared down a small decline so we weren’t sure who she chose to mate with. I remember learning about leks in several biology classes during college, so actually seeing one was incredible.
This past week I also learned how to perform a habitat assessment. In this first photo you can see me measuring nearby plants along with my co-workers, Michelle and Adam. Doing projects like this really helps me become better in tune with the Utah environment. I come from a very urban area so this is a whole new world for me! I’m definitely excited about exploring this state and involving myself in the various activities that this internship has to offer!
An exciting habitat assessment in Minersville!
That's me holding the sign for our 100ft intersection of habitat!