Alaska is Groovy : )

My stay in Alaska is coming to an end. After 4 long months and numerous adventures, I am sad to leave. Between seeing bears, moose, musk oxen, reindeer, wolves, coyote’s, ground squirrels, and collecting seeds, my time in Alaska will always be remembered.
This internship has been such a great post college experience. I have learned so many different plant species and so much about field work. I’ll be leaving with a love for Alaska, it’s plants and it’s overall greatness.
The CLM internship program is such a great idea. I hope it lasts a long time and gives many people wonderful experiences like it has given me.

The Finale of the Last Frontier

Over the past 3 months we have had the opportunity to travel to more of this state than most Alaskan residents do. I couldn’t be more pleased with the CLM internship program. I have seen places between Nome and Valdez. Alaska is quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. Along with enjoying the scenery, I’ve also broadened my knowledge of plant identification immensely.

This past month we went from Glennallen, to Nome, to Fairbanks/Central and back. We have made a significant amount of seed collections of native Alaska plants that exceeds the expected quantity. I have started to really enjoy collecting and approve of what the seeds will be used for. If the feeling of frustration kicks in there is usually a blueberry or crow berry to help lift our morale. Sometimes we pick enough to make blueberry pancakes in the morning. Those are the best mornings. Nothing starts the day better than fresh blueberry pancakes.

Luckily on our drive home from Fairbanks, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Which gave us the most spectacular view of Mt. McKinley/Denali possible. We couldn’t help but stop to take pictures.

If there is one thing this internship has taught me it’s to enjoy every little bit of natures beauty. Whether it be a beautiful plant to re-vegetate or a huge mountain, just appreciate it while you can.

Chrissy Balk
Anchorage, Ak
September 17, 2010

Alaska- You can see Russia from here!

It has been 2 months now that I have been living in Anchorage, Ak. I have had so many encounters with Alaskan wildlife. We have seen bears, moose, sea otters, sea lions, bald eagles, and the salmon running. Our most exciting encounter was in Valdez, Ak. We had the chance to see a sow and her 3 cubs fishing for salmon in the ocean and river. It was so interesting to watch these animals in their natural habitat. We have also been startled by a few bears while scouting and collecting seeds. I did not do the right thing, and went with my instinct to run from the bear. Thankfully, the bear was more afraid of us and didn’t feel the need to chase me down. Ever since that incident, I have been calm in my bear encounters.

Besides our exciting animal incidents, we have been doing our job! We have already made a total of 30 seed collections. This is very exciting for us, since Alaska is very hit or miss with it’s seeding schedule. We have a trip to Nome coming up very soon and we are all very excited to collect up north! Our adviser, Mike Duffy, has already scouted areas in Nome for us and we already have a game plan for when we arrive.

We have been able to see so much of Alaska due to this amazing internship and I can’t wait to see more of it! Here are some pictures of our adventures. Until Next time. Chrissy

Anchorage, Alaska

So I’ve been in Anchorage, Ak for 6 days now and I am already in love. Alaska is beautiful! My 1st night we saw a Moose and her baby. It was amazing. Then we were lucky enough to eat at one of our bosses houses where we were served freshly caught halibut tacos. They were great!

Anyways we have been getting permits set up for seed collections and we have been exploring our area. We are getting a very good feel for the plants of Alaska. There are so many! So far the internship has been going great! We couldn’t have been placed with a better guide and boss. Our mentor, Mike Duffy is so intelligent and friendly!

Until next time