Wow! It’s been almost a whole year since my arrival to Boise, Idaho – the land of the potatoes for the CLM Seeds of Success Internship and I’ve grown physically, emotionally and spiritually. By the end of my first week in Idaho (June 2010), I had already sunk into a great routine – Field work from Monday to Friday, Zumba dance class with Jody every Saturday morning, followed by snacking at the Farmer’s Market and hikes and bike rides on Sundays. It’s been almost a year now (it will be a year on June 15, 2011) and my routine remains the same and I couldn’t be happier.
My work at the BLM has both complemented my academic background and been a personally enriching experience as well. I am most grateful for my time at the BLM as it has afforded me the opportunity to become truly immersed in conservation and restoration projects, something I plan continuing for the rest of my life. My duties have been far ranging from collecting seeds for restoration and conservation practices, to monitoring federally endangered plant species, to writing observational reports based on field sites and databasing lichens for the world famous state botanist and one of my mentors, Roger Rosentreter.
It is the latter opportunity that I would like to discuss further for the purpose of this blog.On Sunday, April 17, 2011, the four of us (Roger, Pam, Jody and myself) left Spud land to go to Moab, Utah – the land of the Arches. After engaging in conversation about lichens, biological soil crusts, and plants we finally arrived at our destination – Moab, Utah the next day. We were all there to attend a Biological Soil Crusts class taught by my mentor, Roger Rosentreter and Jayne Belnap.
Within minutes of arriving into Moab, Utah, we ran into another BLM team from Vale, Oregon with whom we had collected Philadelphus lewisii seeds last summer while kayaking. Instantly, our group of four became a group of eight and we spent the next few days getting to know each other in class and outside. The Biological Soil Crusts (BSCs) class was phenomenal – we learned how to identify different crusts, techniques employed for monitoring and sampling lichens/mosses and policies that the BLM should implement for land reclamation. The mornings were spent inside learning while the afternoons were spent outdoors applying our knowledge. It was a wonderful class and I urge everyone (even those not interested in lichens and mosses) as it will open your eyes to a great world.
Of course, the class was great, but it was the location that made this opportunity even more memorable- Moab, Utah. Just take a second and google the word Moab, and the first few pictures that pop up would be of Arches and Canyonlands National Park. After lichen- izing, our group of eight met up in the afternoons/evenings to explore what Moab had to offer. The first stop was Arches National Park. There are simply no words to describe this amazing park and so to make sure it deserves the respect it ought to, I have included pictures so that you can come up with your own words to describe the land.
Our second stop was Canyonlands National Park the following day and in my opinion, it beats the view of the GRAND CANYON! Yes I said it and it’s true. The view unparallels anything I have ever seen – with beautiful canyons on one side, and intricate mazes and needles on the other.
It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity to go to Moab, Utah for myself (at least) as I’m an East coaster and never venture out West. However, having had the chance to do so, I know that I will be coming back to this beautiful piece of land every few years. I want to extend a big thank you to my mentors, Roger Rosenter and Susan Filkins, who have been nothing but wonderful. They have welcomed me not only into the professional working environment at the BLM but also into their homes and hearts. They have been a second family and have made this experience a memorable one.