Arrivederci Colorado

My internship at the Colorado State Office has come to an end. We spent the summer collecting numerous species and we reached our target numbers. This job was physically demanding since we worked in the field every day, but I enjoyed working with the other interns and I gained knowledge about the biology and phenology of the species we worked on. I got to know more about plants like cacti – they have such beautiful flowers and fruits. I really learned a lot about the species we found by keeping up with their development in the field throughout spring and summer, from germination, to flowering and then fruiting.

During these five months I also had the opportunity to see various ecosystems around Colorado like Ponderosa pine forests, the prairies of the Plains, spectacular canyons and scenic mesas. Some of the most beautiful places here in the West lay on BLM and other public lands and having the opportunity to work there and see these places was a great experience.  We got to take a trip to Roan Plateau, a high area in western Colorado where we collected a species of paintbrush. When we got to the top the view was striking. It was interesting to see oil shale on the steep mountain cliffs.

I have enjoyed my time at the BLM and in Colorado and will certainly use the knowledge I have gained in my future career.

Lorenzo Ferrari

BLM Colorado State Office

Hitting the trails of Colorado

Paint Mines Interpretive Park, El Paso County, CO

Paint Mines Interpretive Park, El Paso County, CO

Two months ago I moved to Colorado to get started on the Seeds of Success program at the Bureau of Land Management State Office in Lakewood, CO. Collecting seeds from native plant species was also part of my CLM internship at the BLM in Cheyenne last year but here in Colorado I will be completely focusing on this project.

Lakewood is a Denver suburb at the edge of the city and at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. In fact, it is an easy drive from the office up into the heart of the Rockies and numerous park areas just west of town.

During this first month, I have been working with the rest of the Seeds of Success team on the first stages of seed collection. The mission of Seeds of Success is to collect, conserve, and develop native plant materials for stabilizing, rehabilitating and restoring lands in the United States. We have started by scouting undisturbed areas to search for target species and assessing the plant populations we find in order to decide whether they could be suitable for our purposes. This preparation work is a key part of the project and sometimes it takes quite a lot of time. Some species have started flowering in recent weeks, particularly at lower altitudes, and we are already considering the ones we could potentially collect seeds from in the next few weeks.

This internship includes a lot of travel throughout Colorado, and I am looking forward to being able to explore most of the state in the coming months. During the first part of May we went to Rifle and Grand Junction, CO on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains to take a look at some BLM lands. Since our Seeds of Success team will be covering the whole state we are hoping to find some plant populations that work for us in western Colorado too. The few trips I have taken so far have already given me the opportunity to see some amazing places in different portions of the state while at the same time becoming familiar with the project as a whole. I have been enjoying working in the field most of the week, which allows me to get to know various types of vegetation and environments and learn a lot about the biology of the plants.

In addition to our trips outside the Denver area, we have also been scouting the parks in the mountains near the office and have collected some plant specimens. I like the fact that there are lots of great open areas close to Denver because we can take more time to study the area and find what we need. And I can personally enjoy the Rockies environment here during my free time without driving long distances. I’m looking forward to the next few months that I’ll get to spend here in the Denver area.

Lorenzo Ferrari

Lakewood, CO

Colorado BLM State Office