Summer Time in Central California

Over the past month the weather has begun to clear up and become more like summer here on Fort Ord. Also in the past month I have crossed paths with a mountain lion, learned more and more about GIS dealing with creation of data, and organization of many volunteers.
About a week ago I was walking on in some oak woodlands looking for possible new oak sites where we could bring volunteers to help us plant new oaks. We then saw a deer run by and really thought nothing of it until we saw a mountain lion leap from an oak tree and run to another. My guess was that the mountain lion was not interested in us — it just wanted to watch the deer.  Still, it was a great shock to see a mountain lion.
Over the past month I have received computer access and have begun to get back in the flow of using ArcGIS. We are now creating polygons and are able to transform the data as needed.
The past week we have had many volunteers coming out to Fort Ord and there are many more to come, from Capital One employees to the Sierra Club. We have been trying to get prepared for all of their arrival.
Public Lands Day is almost here and should be a great day to get everyone outside!

Weeds and Seeds

Over the past month I have been working on weed removal, seed collections, watering willows to restore a creek bed, watering and protection of baby oaks, and packaging seeds that were ready to be shipped.
We have been working on weeds all over Fort Ord National Monument. The photo taken was a field of Bull thistle and Italian thistle; we then weeded, wacked and racked it into the pile that you see. I also was looking for Yellow-Star Thistle the last week on a site that had been eradicated to make sure there were no stragglers.
This month, I successfully gathered the remainder of the seeds I was planning to collect and sent them to Bend Oregon for cleaning. I have now begun more collection for the next shipment.
I am still working on the restoration project we have going in a creek bend on the east end of Fort Ord. There is over 5,000 feet of fire hose to create an easier watering system then using buckets. This project is becoming a success and the willows planted should making to the raining season.
In relation the creek bed I have been working with volunteers to ensure the success of baby oaks planted in a valley. There has been vandalism lately on this project so we have increased monitoring this site to more than normal.
The past month the range of work done has been great and I am excited to see what else is to come.

Recently we have been attempting to re-vegetate a creek (Toro Creek). This has become a larger task then visioned, we have moved from carrying buckets down a creek to now using a large pump, and pumping 900 gallons a day. The willows that had been planted a month before I came are now starting to flourish (approx. 2400 willows).

I have also had the chance to be the volunteer supervisor for the summer. This has given me the opportunity have 5 to 10 volunteers working with me. They have helped me with my Seeds of Success collections, watering willows, relocating squirrels, Bull Thistle removal, and planting new oak trees.  Last week we took a field trip down to King City, CA for a meeting about Yellow Star Thistle on Fort Hunter Liggett. This meeting went over how to control the invasive as well as prove to the public this can be done and needs to be done.

On November 8th we will be putting on an invasive weed symposium in Santa Cruz, CA called the Central California Invasive Weed Symposium and if you are near there I think this would be a great way to see what is happening around California.  There will be field trips and speakers as well.


Fort Ord National Monument

I have been living here in Monterey for about two months now and it is only getting better. I work on Fort Ord National Monument (the newest national monument in the United States. Recently we had a ceremony for the national monuments depute. At this event we had some great guests which included U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, Garrison Commander Col. Joel J. Clark, Department of the Interior Deputy Secretary David Hayes, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abby.
President Obama made Fort Ord a National monument on April 20, 2012, “Fort Ord’s dramatic landscape lives in the memories of thousands of veterans as their first taste of Army life, as a final stop before deploying to war, or as a home base during their military career,” Obama said.
Fort Ord was an old military base from World War 1 through Desert Storm and now is home to beautiful trails and wildlife neighboring the Monterey Peninsula. I am very fortunate to be working here and hope to stay here as long as possible.
On another note I have been collecting many species a week for Seeds of Success for example Tomcat Clover scientific name Trifolium wildenovii. It has been quite the scavenger hunt trying to find all the species on my list my mentor and I have created.
Another project I have been doing is keeping signs posted and up to date with the location of a sheep herd on the Fort Ord, so that people with dogs understand the dangers of having your dog off lease around these natural landscapers. This last Saturday at the public lands day site on Fort Ord we held the first annual “Sheep Appreciation Day”, where people could come out and watch the sheep dogs and herders doing demonstrations, some other herders sheering sheep, and people knitting a blanket from the sheep wool.
I am having a great time here and can’t wait for the next project to come about!

Central California!

I just accepted an internship on Fort Ord near Monterey California. I am a recent graduate of Northern Arizona University with a major in Environmental Management. I just started this internship two weeks ago and am loving it out here. I found a house close to the ocean which is something new to me moving from Arizona and growing up in Colorado. So far this internship has taught me so many things in the coastal botany world that I didn’t know. This area is absolutely beautiful. My mentor Bruce is an awesome guy and a very great teacher as well.  He has been teaching me all there is to know about every aspect when it comes to land management. I am very happy with this internship so far and guarantee it will only get better!