Our 36 collections are at Bend and our work is done! We drove the whole lot up to the seed extractory and took a tour. We even got to see our fleshy fruit collections cleaned and dried. They use really neat equipment to shake, rattle and roll the seeds into a nice, clean lot. In a warehouse, there are sacks full of conifer cones that need to be turned everyday to dry properly before they heat them to pop the seeds out. What a cool job! It was amazing to see where our months of hard work ended up and the excellent care the people at the extractory give to our seed collections.
There were many disappointments in our efforts this season, but this had mainly to do with the incredible drought that has oppressed the area. We only had two grass seed collections but had better luck with sedges.
Working with the BLM has been challenging. I’ve learned how hard it is to be a leader, and that being a good leader is important to me but I often struggle with how to do it. Doing the right thing well is often difficult. I’ve also learned that I can do botany 24/7 without getting sick of plants. I can ID the deadest, driest plant with confidence. I will take everything I’ve learned with me and become a stronger scientist and better field crew member where the next chapter begins.
I’ve had a great season but I am ready to move on and be with my adventure partner. For the next 6 months, I will be volunteering with Death Valley National Park doing botany and wilderness restoration projects. I’ll be living out of a 10-foot pop-up in the hottest, driest and lowest place in North America. 50 species of endemic plants and great hiking await!
I have to thank my partner Anna, mentor Ian and Megan Haidet and Krissa Skogen for the opportunity to work in this amazing place. Farewell!
This has been a great week in Lakeview, OR. Late developers have surprised us; we exceeded our seed collection goal and found a new population of special status plant, Hymenoxys cooperi var. canescens. We also did an intense collection of Sambucus nigra in a steep canyon with pruners and a basket on a pole. My partner Anna and I got funding through September, so we’ll be sticking around a little later. There are plenty of other projects to do besides seed collection, even so I feel like work is winding down.
Some of the smoke has cleared and it has only been in the 70s the last two days. I wouldn’t mind if fall came early! The heat really isn’t too bad but I can do without the smoke.
I’m looking for jobs almost everyday and trying to make a plan, but it’s proving difficult to predict anything. I’ve saved money, but it won’t get me though another winter of unemployment. I wish I were a fox and could burrow in the snow, appear 6 months later as a woman and botanize and restore creeks the rest of my life.
We have a botany clearance, a week of pulling weeds, a re-seeding evaluation and a few late collections that hopefully fill out. Machaeranthera canescens is growing around a neat lava flow and has good success in grow-out settings but wasn’t very productive when we checked it last.
Not bothered by us collected Mimulus and Epilobium.
Defines only a fraction of Lakeview Resource Area.
Scouting for anything where the soil is deeper and not desiccated.
Hello from Lakeview, where our lakes have dust devils and our wetlands are on fire.
I live in the parking lot of the Interagency Fire Center fleet and I have watched our team of five fire trucks roll out at least four times this month. We are now at Preparedness Level 4, which I had to look up and that means 60% of our national and state fire crews are engaged in some fire activity.
Our awareness of dust, smoke and heat related health hazards is on point. We can’t drive on roads with vegetation in the middle, smoke outside or have fires of any kind. Our field rig has had a Pulaski, shovel and fire extinguisher since May, but if we don’t carry them now we could be fined. I find myself taking more breaks when I seed collect, but I’ve also grown more efficient in choosing the best fruits. Some field sites will be abandoned until it is safer to drive over the grass and sagebrush, and we’ll probably miss the collection if another accessible population isn’t found.
I like the physical demand of the job, but I wish there was more science involved. Seed collection is just one step in a huge operation, and we do find new information to add to previous data. But if you really want to run some tests and gather evidence that it is possible to afford native seed restorations on public lands, go to a grow-out like the Malheur Experiment Station.
Native plants are the best!
For more information on fires on fires in your area, check out:
Sunset over Goose Lake valley
Crater Lake National Park
Heliotropium curassavicum var. obovatum
Thanks to all the interns and instructors that made last week’s training in Chicago special. The Garden was beautiful and I finally have faces to the CLM coordinator names. Krissa is a rock star! We are excited to help her collect Oenothera in Oregon for pollinator research.
We made our first collection of Microsteris gracilis! It was painstaking, but we should have at least 18,000 viable seed to send to Bend. Our other seed collecting endeavors have fallen through so far. Cows ate the Lupine, Lewisia had it’s ovaries eaten by orthopterans and the Bud Sage frosted. We are looking forward to something not being eaten or shriveled.
The high desert is keeping us tempted with false promise of rain as we endure the drought. Surely our collected seed will reflect the best genetic varieties for sustained dry conditions. South central Oregon has a frost advisory tonight but the highs should be back in the 80s by Thursday.
Yesterday was my only day of rest in 8 days of training and travel. I spent it in my hammock watching fledgling nighthawks practice their maneuvers in the daylight and then took a drive in the Warner Mountains to a little lake where I again observed nighthawks. I compared grasses growing in lava scab-land and stared at the mountains and dreamed of having the time to hike to the top of each one. There were many animal tracks in the dust but I only encountered birds.
Lucy Landis, Lakeview, OR BLM
Best shade of violet award
The moment I saw the big wooden sign for the Lakeview BLM district I cheered for joy. I am just nine days into my Seeds of Success position here in south central Oregon but every one of them has proven educational, rewarding and FUN! Last week I began the challenging task of learning the flora in this gorgeous sea of sagebrush. Most of the plants here are new to me but I’ve come across some favorites like phlox and collinsia while assisting in botany clearances for new fences, road bulldozing and pond digging. The weather has been surprisingly cold with many nights last week around freezing, accompanied by snow, sleet, and grapple (a new phenomenon for me). Now things are warming up to near 90°F and the threat of fire is increasing. The desert is indeed an extreme ecosystem.
I just returned from Boise, ID where I was invited to attend the SOS protocol training. Some of the most valuable information shared was the result of many long hours of work with very disappointing ends, such as the seeds that molded or were grazed just before collecting. We learned that mapping collection sites and making the data available are crucial to ensuring a diverse native seed collection in the future. My mentor Ian and I now have a great knowledge of the program and can begin planning our seed collecting efforts. The highlights include a private tour of the Boise Botanical Garden and visiting the Malheur Experiment Station in Ontario, OR where they grow out native seed under varying conditions of irrigation and weed treatments. Seeing the production side of native seed motivates me to make great collections so more seed is available for grow out studies like these. The science learned can then increase the success of actual reseeding.
We have found populations of Lupinus polyphyllus and Phlox diffusa that look healthy now, but nothing is certain until the seed is in your hands.
BLM Lakeview, OR