Winter in the ELFO

Since winter hit, work in the Eagle Lake Field office has slowed down a bit. With Seeds of Success completed and the remaining seasonals gone, its been extremely quiet in the office.

I was fortunate to take a few weeks off around the holidays, just as it was getting super quiet, to visit family and friends in Chicago and to take a tremendous trip to Italy. It was just long enough to make me miss Susanville!

Since coming back, I realized how short of a time I have left here. I have been working on taking full advantage of winter in Lassen County before heading to the Bay Area. Skiing at the local hill Coppervale was the first on my to do list. I also enjoyed some amazingly scenic hotsprings near Cedarville!


The Hotsprings in Cedarville!

The Hotsprings in Cedarville!


Most of the projects I have been working on since I returned have involved teaming up with the Range Specialist and Wildlife Biologist to digitize some important information in GIS. One project involved adjusting wildlife polygons for pronghorn and deer habitat. Another project involved digitizing a series of utilization inspection points into a new layer for future range projects. I have enjoyed the opportunity to take some GIS training courses and to advance my knowledge of using this program. It has also introduced me to the other type of work different parts of the office are working on.

Every now and then I am given the opportunity to go out into the field. Those days are the best days! A couple weeks ago, I had a go at performing Bald Eagle Surveys at the perfectly named Eagle Lake. Although we only spotted one Bald Eagle along our transect, it turned out to be a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the lake was frozen, and the snow wasn’t too deep for the eight mile walk along the shore!



Eagle Lake in the Winter!


I also had the chance to go on a nice drive along Smoke Creek Road to my favorite spot in the field office. The previous few days were a bit rainy, so it made for a fun and muddy ride. Thinking about it now…that was probably my last time out in the field for the remainder of my internship!



Gotta love the baby Cows on Smoke Creek Road.


Until next time!



Lonely In Lassen County

Things have began to wind down here at the Eagle Lake Field Office! My three fellow interns/roommates have departed Susanville, and moved onto their next adventure. It is a lonely place in the field without them and I’m missing their laughter like crazy!



The last day of work together!!! :'( Miss these girls so much!


It hasn’t been too bad working solo these past few days. I have been wrapping up the remainder of the SOS collections. All the seeds have been sent, herbarium specimens mailed to the Smithsonian Institute and UC Jepson herbarium, and photos have been organized. All that’s left is to send in the final forms and our season will be complete! All in all, we collected 33 collections of about 23 different species. Our collections included everything from grasses to forbs to shrubs. We were happy with the number of collections we made, and the variety of species we managed to collect. Working as an SOS intern, I was able to see parts of Northern California that most people will never have the chance to see and I have learned a tremendous amount about ELFO’s native flora.

In addition to working on completing the SOS collections, I also had the chance to work on my mentor’s planting project. My co-intern, Rachael, and I picked up over 2000 Mountain Mahogany and Bitterbrush seedling from the Washoe Nursery near Reno, NV. We were also sent a stack of about 20 boxes of sagebrush seedlings.


Some of the boxes weren't so pretty when they finally reached us!

Some of the boxes weren’t so pretty when they finally reached us. They had already been on a long journey.


We packed the little guys up and drove them up to our field office to be planted by a GBI crew. Over the span of a week, we delivered seedlings to the interns, learned to use hand tools and oggers for planting, and had the chance to work with like-minded individuals who cared about the environment. It was a wonderful, but chilly experience! Of course the snow would hit the one week of planting. However, it made for some beautiful scenery!



The Mountain Mahogany planting site near Pilgrim Lake.


Here is a picture of my favorite peak in the field office, Observation Point. The fog was awesome!

Here is a picture of my favorite peak in the field office, Observation Point. The fog was awesome!


I was also lucky enough to get some last minute exploring in before the snow hit! I explored the beautiful, bird filled Antelope Lake. The drive was absolutely gorgeous and the views, incredible!



Spent the morning of Halloween on a scenic bike ride along the Bizz Johnson Trail. I can’t believe this was my first time on the trail all since I moved here!


Antelope lake

The beautiful Antelope lake.










I also made the trip to Point Reyes, just north of San Francisco, to soak up some sun! It was a beautiful trip, filled with good food and great views!



A view from the Point Reyes lighthouse! This has been one of my favorite mini trips I have done since coming to California. The color of the water was absolutely breathtaking.


That’s all that I have been up to lately; an exciting month (with some sulking over missing my roommates), and many more adventures to come. I will be sticking around Susanville for a few more months, so expect some more posts in the near future!

Until next time!

Jill Pastick

Time is Flying

Wow, I cant believe we are already into August! It feels like my time here is whizzing past!

We have had another couple of extremely productive weeks at the Eagle Lake Field Office. We have gone out to the field nearly every single day, scouting for new seed collection sites, checking on old ones, and performing collections.

We are up to 17 completed collections, with a few more species on the back burner until the seeds are slightly more mature.


Our band (SOS team) album cover.


We love to have photo shoots in the field. Photo taken at Painter’s Creek, CA.

Im starting to realize how different each area in our field office is. My fellow interns and I ventured up to one of the higher areas in our field office yesterday to the Ferdonyer Peak. This was one of the prettiest areas that we have scouted so far! We were surrounded by trees and a smorgasbord of species we havn’t even seen since we have been working. We could see most of the field office by doing a 360 degree turn, everywhere from Observation Pt. to the other side of Eagle Lake.


View from the lookout at Ferdonyer Peak! Thats the very low Eagle Lake that you see in front of the mountain.


Andrea, Lillie, and Rachael doing some scouting at the peak.

While at Ferdonyer, we also got a chance to visit the lookout. It was a very interesting day to be there becuase we could see the smoke from the Dodge Fire, which has been burning since Saturday night. I’m thinking I wouldn’t do the best job at scouting for fires from the lookout, since Monday I was looking at the same area that was burning, thinking the clouds were looking exceptionally cool, and failing to realize it was actually a fire burning!

What do you think, Fire or crazy awesome cloud?

What do you think, Fire or crazy awesome cloud?

Since then, it has burned to 10,700 acres. This is an area that we visit often for seed collections and it is crazy to think of how much of this area will now be burned the next time we see it.

We also had the chance to work with a couple of the interns from the Alturas field office this week! We assisted them with the collection of Idaho Fescue and Snowberry on a beautiful Mountain in the Modoc Forest. They were a couple of species that are lacking in our field office, and were pretty fun to collect.

Hunter gathers picking snowberries.

Hunter gathers picking snowberries.

My weekend adventures have also continued. I had another trip to San Francisco and Santa Cruz a couple weekends ago. It has been so long since I had the chance to play in the sand and put my toes in the ocean.


Bonny Doon Beach in Santa Cruz, CA.

And just this past weekend, I had an amazing reunion with a few of my friends from my Puerto Rico internship! We visited both Lake Tahoe for a little hike and play in the water, and Lassen National Park!

Me and my PR pals in Tahoe!

Me and my PR pals in Tahoe!



At at beautiful waterfall in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

At at beautiful waterfall in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Well! Thats it for now! Until next time, Jillian

Alas! A lass in Lassen County


My first few weeks with the Eagle Lake Field Office have been nothing short of an adventure! The first week was full of training and refreshers to get me back in the swing of things since my last internship with the CLM in the Buffalo Field Office.

Our advisor took us out a few times and showed us the ropes. She gave us a couple quick botany lessons about the local flora, went over major landmarks, familiarized us with the maps and sent us on our way.

It took us a while to get the hang of the field office, but with only a few minor missed turns and vehicle lock-outs, we have started to get the hang of the whole intern thing. It also only took a few days driving in our trusty Wrangler, Mango Jerry, to determine this field season would be one of productivity, laughter, and inside jokes about our most abundant collection of the Bottlebrush Squirreltail.

So far, we have made a whopping 14 collections, with many more to come. It is a lot of fun collecting in such a large group. With three other interns, the days pass by so quickly! My favorite collection so far has been this trefoil species (or sage grouse sundaes as we called them) we collected in the Nevada part of our field office. The location was absolutely gorgeous and the seed was so easy to collect.


Lillie and Andrea collecting some seed from one of our sites.

Lillie and Andrea collecting some seed from one of our sites.


In addition to the SOS collections we have done, we have also had a chance to learn a little bit about other projects throughout the field office. We have learned to monitor populations of special status plants within our field office. We were also given the opportunity to learn about the feral horses in the area and what the BLM has done to ensure the health of the field office!

When visiting the BLM corrals, we got up close and personal with this happy fella. He looks a little feisty, but was more than happy to get a pat on the nose.



In addition to all the working in the field office, we have had the chance to go on some amazing weekend adventures. From Napa, where we met Natalie Portman, to San Fran, where we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, to our own backyard in Susanville, where I rock climbed for the first time, I can honestly say I am having the best of times on this adventure!



Rock Climbing in Susanville!


After climbing to the top of Mount Lassen in Lassen National Volcanic Park



And if all else fails, and the day in the sun is hot and rough, I always have a beautiful backyard view to come home to!


Until next time!


How Quickly Time Flies

It feels like I just arrived in Buffalo and I am already rapping up my time here. The countdown is on and there are only a brief three weeks left at the Buffalo Field Office. The office feels empty since one of our fellow interns, Justin Chappelle, left. However, there is a lot to do before my time is up and there is no time for sulking!

Since all but one seed collection has been sent in to Bend, and almost all of the herbarium specimens have been mailed to the Smithsonian, I have been able to participate in a series of new and interesting projects throughout the office. First, I have been assisting a fellow intern, Heather Bromberg, in working on her PRBR Historic Fire project, in which we have walked historic fires through the core sage grouse area, mapping invasive species throughout like cheatgrass within its perimeter. Second, I joined the Montana Conservation Crew in assisting with seeding and weed mapping at a controlled burn site up in the Big Horns! That was an awesome way to get out of the office and talk to other young individuals working in the conservation and land management field. We were able to walk around the cliffs, hang out, and enjoy the scenery with some really cool people, and I gained a great deal of useful mapping and GPS experience in the process!

Working at Billy Creek with the MCC

Working at Billy Creek with the MCC

Finally, we have started working on range improvements at the office, which means we basically get to go out and explore different patches of BLM land in various Allotments throughout our field office, while mapping different range improvements along the way. It is another great lesson on using GPS Trimble systems and Terrasync, as well as GIS. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work Seed Collections for SOS this summer, but I am even more glad to have the opportunity to try out all of these other projects and to work with so many intelligent and interesting people!

Although the interns have been working hard, we have also been playing some to before I head back to Chicago for the winter! Last weekend we spent the chilly Saturday night backpacking to Lost Twin Lakes! It was both beautiful and exhausting, but well worth it for the view and the thrill.

A photo of the two of us over one of the Lost twin lakes!

A photo of the two of us over one of the Lost twin lakes!

Heather and I sporting the newest style for frozen backpackers.

Heather and I sporting the newest style for frozen backpackers.


Seeds on seeds on seeds

So far, my experience as a CLM internship has been fantastic.  It’s been the best of all worlds being out here in Wyoming! I have been to visit the Black Hills, the Tetons, and Yellowstone, I have rallied at Sturgis with the bikers, and I even had the chance to take time off and visit a friend in Jamaica! It was a nice break from the dry heat of Wyoming and I was able to see a lot of the country. I traveled everywhere from Falmouth to Montego Bay to Kingston, and finally, my favorite, Portland. I snorkeled and swam in glistening waters, ate breadfruit, and biked through historic plantations. She showed me the people and the buildings of Jamaica and it was nice to focus my attention on something other than plants for a while, even though I love them, and even though I did find myself focusing a lot of my attention on the tropical species I don’t get to see very often.

Beach in Boston Bay, Jamaica.

Surfers at the beach in Boston Bay, Jamaica; one of the only beaches that is really “surfable”!

Just a few of the bikes at Sturgis!

Just a few of the bikes at Sturgis!

Even with all the fun times I have been having and trips I have been taking, this has also been the learning experience of a lifetime.  Each day I gain a new piece of knowledge that is helping me to make decisions for my future career.

I have so far learned to:

1)      Run an irrigation system, guage water levels, and weed the evil bind weed at Whelch

2)      Monitor rangeland health using line point intercepts and daubenmire readings

3)      Measure habitat for sage grouse suitability using sagebrush intercept and walking transects

4)      Collect a variety of different seed types, ranging from fleshy fruits to tiny grass seeds

5)      Create herbarium specimens

6)      Read soil texture

7)      Communicate with individuals in other parts of the BFO and other offices in the area

8)      Contribute ideas and knowledge to the PRBR project conducted by another intern in the BFO office

9)       Attended the Wildlife Society Conference in Sheridan, WY!

The whole group and one of the great Wildlife Biologists from our office, DON!

The whole group and one of the great Wildlife Biologists from our office, DON!

This past week was an exciting one, as I mailed off a majority of seed collections from our office to Bend. It was like sending my children off for their first day of school. (I think I even teared up a bit) Bend confirmed that they had arrived and that everything was in order. In total the team has collected 16 full collections of seed, but there is still more to collect! Now to collect and ship out the rest!

Just a few of the collections I packed up to be sent off to Bend Seed Extractory!

Just a few of the collections I packed up to be sent off to Bend Seed Extractory!

Prairie Junegrass! Probably one of my favorite collections becuase of how simple it was to collect!

Prairie Junegrass! Probably one of my favorite collections becuase of how simple it was to collect!


Now that some of the seed has been sent to bend, I have also begun compiling and organizing the herbarium specimens to be sent to the Smithsonian. The grasses have been a pain to deal with, but I enjoy looking back at the old flowers we have collected and pressed. It’s awesome to have been able to follow full populations from flower to seeding and to have kept track of them along the way.

Winter has really started approaching quickly. The snow we received Wednesday and Thursday was brutal! A cruel joke in the form of a white blanket. Luckily, my roomies and I made the most of it using our hot tub, but being snowed into the office last week was not the most exciting thing!


Yes, It's septemeber. And yes, this was only the beginning of snow falling.

Yes, It’s septemeber. And yes, this was only the beginning of snow falling.


And yes, I did pretend to be an orca and swam in Lake De Smet four days after this snow!

And yes, I did pretend to be an orca and swam in Lake De Smet four days after this snow!



Busy Week in the Field

Since I arrived back in Wyoming from the CLM workshop Chicago, my week has been busy, busy, busy! A majority of the week dealt with range land health assessments. However, some of it was also spent making the first collections for the Seeds of Success program.

Each day, we were putting in about 10 hours of work. We were lucky to have a breezy, sunny series of days which made it enjoyable to be traipsing through the sites of sagebrush. Seeing the cute baby cows all around have also made these long days bearable (It is my summer goal to hug one of these baby cows, and I was recently informed by a friend of a friend that this may in fact be possible!), as well as the eye candy flowers currently in bloom!


Some of that eye candy I was talking about! The lovely and colorful flower of a prickly pear cactus.




Some of the baby cows that I will one day get to cuddle….hopefully.


Monday was the first day that all four interns were working together, and we had a blast getting to know each other and working hard to get the monitoring finished. There was a lot of training involved in these field days. We pulled up to each site with a small army of three trucks filled with interns, soil specialists, range specialists, and wildlife biologists. It was great to have everyone there the first few days, because we were able to share our knowledge of the sites and our specialties back and forth. I was able to pick up some great facts about soil and wildlife for each of the sites by talking to the other members of the team, and was able to share what I knew about the plants of the area, as well as sage grouse habitat monitoring with the other members of the team.


The crew is all together! All four of the interns are finally here and working together! (From Left: Heather, Sara, Me, Justin)

I had previously been introduced to setting up the transects at the sites, but we went into extreme detail so the interns will be able to complete some monitoring without the entire team in the coming weeks. In one day alone, I set up three transects, learned to perform point line intercepts, use a compass, and perform the Daubenmire method.

The days seemed to fly by because there was so much to get done at each location. Because so much teaching and training was involved at these sites, and because it took so long to get to each of these locations (2-3 hrs), we were only able to complete 2 sites per day. However, we are hoping to pick up the pace in the coming weeks, getting 3-4 sites done each day.

In addition to the 9 sites we successfully monitored this week, Justin and I also completed the Desert Biscuit root (Lomatium foeniculaceum) seed collection which our fellow intern, Sara Burns and our advisor, Charlotte Darling, had started the week before. There were so many seeds to be collected, and a good chunk which had yet to mature, which gives us the opportunity to go back and collect more next week. Collecting went faster than I had anticipated and was actually quite fun. Justin and I came up with a quick and efficient method for removing the seeds and covered the entire area in just than a couple of hours.


Me collecting some of the Lomatium seed from the location near Kaycee, WY.


Some of the seeding pussytoes we stumbled upon.

During the days of monitoring, we also had a few exciting encounters with great populations for collections for the SOS program. We wound up finding a site of small-leaf pussytoes (Antennaria parvifolia) ready for collection, and collected from over 200 plants in a single day. This plant has become one of my favorites because of how soft and fluffy it is, and how closely it resembles kittens paws (It’s a bonus that it was so easy to collect from!). We also found promising populations of Chick Weed, Two-grooved Milkvetch, and the American Vetch that we will have to go back and visit in a couple of weeks.

I was soooo happy to have had the SOS training the previous week! It made filling out the forms, collection herbarium specimens, and checking seed ripeness so much easier!

In the coming week, we will be camping in an area that has five sites which need to be monitored to cut down on driving time and to help pick up the pace. I am looking forward to spending this time with the fellow interns and co-workers. I am just hoping for some another sunny breezy week like the last one! I am also hopeful we will be able to come across a population of Scarlet Globe mallow to collect.

Just a pretty picture from one of our last sites of the week!

Just a pretty picture from one of our last sites of the week!

Until next time!