My final blog entry

My internship experience was a challenge to be sure. I learned a lot about where I wanted to be and how affected I was by harsh landscapes and living rurally in the Midwest. I also learned a ton of new plants and gained my first skills in collecting seeds and working in a herbarium. I’m glad for all of these things and will continue to be a seed-curious person for the rest of my days.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of the CLM Internship Program and I wish it and its future interns great luck and success!

15 weeks down, less than 7 to go!


There’s not much to report on for the last month. Avery and I are waiting on sage to be ready for our SOS collection goal, and the oil and gas field monitoring for reclamation is over.

Where we collected Krascheninnikovia lanata, winterfat, for SOS

We spent one day inventorying our field office herbarium here in Rawlins, Wyoming and another relabeling the cabinet specimen tags and updating herbarium data on the computer. I saw quite a few plant families I’d never heard of while we worked on these tasks. Santalaceae? Hippurdiaceae? Neato.

A couple weekends ago I finally headed north and saw Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The Grand Tetons, wow, now THAT’S my cup of tea. Being in the trees was refreshing and I did a nature-filled 16 mile hike with a dear friend I hadn’t seen in months. It was wonderful.

Sunset at Grand Teton National Park

It’s been great having so much sunshine so late into the year. What with having three day weekends (and sunny ones at that) I’ve had a decent amount of time to work on and promote my solar powered art pieces. I’ve made five sales in the last month and a half and now have over thirty of my works in eight states! Now that the weather’s cooling down I’m looking forward to spending even more of my free time indoors being crafty and cooking fall-time foods.

I’ve been learning quite a bit about how things work around here and very much appreciate that. I’m excited to see what comes next (^:

Fifteen weeks down, seven to go!


I’ve just wrapped up my sixth week as a CLM intern with the BLM Field Office in Rawlins, Wyoming. For the last few weeks the focus has been on seeds: scouting for, checking up on, collecting, cleaning up, and shipping. My fellow intern Avery and I have made eight collections so far and have found another eight immature populations we’re keeping our eyes on. Many of our target species are long gone already, having finished their fruiting cycles and wilted away in the especially dry season. We started late in this regard, but luckily our goal of 20-30 collections still seems highly attainable. Sagebrush may very well save the day.

Collected seeds of Crepis modocensis

I seem to be learning the flora pretty well here and have been taken by nerdy surprise over and over at some of the new-to-me genera we’ve run into. I’ve sort of become the plant and paperwork half of the job so am still eager to get some more GPS experience under my belt. There’s still a lot of time left for that, so it’ll work out.

Avery and I work long days and are rewarded with long weekends. I’ve been trying to keep things interesting by attempting to be creative with sparkly stuff at the barracks and going on mini road trips to see the sites. I’ve spent some time adventuring here in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and this weekend I’m headed to Idaho to see a familiar face and hopefully devour some straight up scrumptious food.

Got a little irresponsible with my Cressida wagon… but found a great spot

My favorite things about the area are the bunnies who live in and eat my yard, the huge detailed and fluffy clouds, and the warmth. Especially the bunnies though. A couple of weeks ago I saw a huge white-tailed jackrabbit (totally a ninja bunny) and some desert horned lizards. I see more wildlife here than I have in any other place. It’s really neat.

This week we did a little work with a Mycological-Inventory Technician named Cat who has been roaming different ecoregions in the area for two summers collecting fungi and (gasp!) lichens data. (I happen to be a bit of a lichen fanatic, so it was a blast to spend time on our hands and knees hunting for them.) Apparently little is known about where fungi and lichenized fungi occur here, so her grant-sponsored work is pretty exciting and admirable.

Crustose lichen love

Our internship future remains dedicated to SOS, though we’ve been asked if we’d like to do some work with bats and reclamation-based monitoring. Our mentor and a few other BLM employees are intent on giving us experience in as many areas as they have to offer, so hopefully we’ll get many glimpses of all sorts of what goes on with the BLM.

Six weeks down, sixteen to go!

Week Two Bites the Dust

So far the CLM Internship program has been quite the adventure for me. My first week was spent at the workshop in Chicago, where I met dozens of fellow interns and several mentors. Krissa, Wes, and Matt were there too, of course. It was excellent to spend a week with some of the CLM team, and the Chicago Botanic Garden was a hoot. I loved the greenhouses!

I’m just ending my first work week in Rawlins, Wyoming. So far there’s been paperwork, CPR and first aid certification, an off-road driving test, a computer access test, and a few hours of seed collection site scouting. One full 12 hour day was spent counting individual Penstemon haydenii plants. These vanilla scented forbs are endangered in Wyoming, and are known to occur only here and in Nebraska. We battled windy, steep dunes to find these beauties, and although it appears we counted an all-time low number for that location (and perhaps even more so because we did), the experience was thrilling and quite special.

Wyoming’s endangered blowout penstemon

I’m excited to learn the local flora, and should be starting some seed collections soon. We’ve been given a long list of native plants categorized by priority. It’s been a dry year so far, and we’re starting late, but hopefully we’ll still be able to check a good number of species off our SOS list. Two weeks down, twenty to go.

I found this curious mushroom at the bottom of a dune