About hbromberg

Working for CBG as a CLM intern and doing exactly what I set out to do. I look forward to my second year as a 2015 CLM intern.

One. More. Month.

July went by very quickly. I am working for Janelle Gonzales, the Powder River Basin Restoration Initiative coordinator, as a field technician.  She had me visit 22 fires to inventory cheatgrass. Most of the fires are dominated by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and have a bulldozer line around the fire perimeter filled with the stuff. Apparently, the responsible party does not seed the bulldozer line. I’ve brought this to the attention of Janelle and other professionals. The hope is to spray Plateau herbicide on dense pockets of cheatgrass.

Bulldozer line around historic fire perimeter. Filled with cheatgrass.

Bulldozer line around historic fire perimeter.
Filled with cheatgrass.

I tend to work out in the field by myself. My fellow interns are busy with their own individual projects. The dynamic is much different then last year, but just as productive. I don’t mind working alone, it’ll be a good resume builder, but I have come across abandoned structures that inspire my mind to wander towards horror movies that involve killers in the middle of nowhere. As I’m out and about, the occasional rabbit or bird will hang nearby to stir as I approach, I jump out of my skin every time as if I’m meeting my doom!  I have to admit it is a good wake up call.


Abandoned structure out in the range. Happened upon during solo field work.

Solo field work was draining me and just in the nick of time Wildlife Biologist, and NRS Supervisor, Bill Ostheimer asked me if I’d enjoy a day working with kids. “YES!” I met with the Sheridan Science School in collaboration with the Audubon of the Rockies for a day nature exploring at BLM’s Welch Recreation Area. We began the day at a decomposing tree with mushrooms growing, holes burrowed by insects, and a spiderweb nested in a dugout section. The kids were ecstatic!!! Their enthusiasm reminded me why I started in this field in the first place-NATURE IS EXCITING! Then, the kids wrapped around a large cottonwood tree hand to hand with arms spread wide.  It took 8 kids! I was impressed with the sheer size of the cottonwood and so were they.  We proceeded with other nature observations, identifying plants (Dryland Creeping Alfalfa, Medicago falcata), watching a bird nest (Osprey, Pandion haliaetus) and finding insects. After snack, we crossed the river to measure the children’s ‘wing span’ and categorize which bird they were. Those categories were grouped and told to create a nest. The one group built a fine looking nest. With sturdy limbs that created a wide enough space for all 6 participants to fit inside! Bedded with dried grass and sweaters. This group protected themselves from predators, had style and comfort. Seeing the camaraderie between these little girls and boys tie into having fun with nature reminded me that the outdoor classroom is where it should be. I will be looking at a masters program in Nature-based Early Childhood Education.


Science School Kids (ages 7-9) construct human size nest. Well constructed and earned award for BEST DESIGN!

Speaking of higher education opportunities, I said ‘adios’ to a dear friend and fellow CLMer whom is headed for graduate school to earn her PhD in Xalapa, Mexico. She’ll be focusing on the effects climate change has on butterfly metamorphosis stages.  There has not been much research in this field and she will be breaking new ground! Good luck out there Ms. Nayeli!


Goodbye Ms. Nayeli! Sara and I go out with Nayeli for one last night on the town-in Buffalo, Wyoming.

July only got busier.  I attended the Red Ants Pants music festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana! What a fun experience and a great venue, the Sagebrush Steppe overlooking the Little Belt mountain range. There was a range of notable singer/songwriters from Ryan Bingham to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Local vendors selling food and art. The weather held up, aside from one hail storm and a down pour, and provided bright blue skies!


Red Ants Pants Music Festival venue in White Sulphur Springs, Montana


Red Ants Pants Music Festival stage, Ryan Bingham headlining, with eager crowd

August has already been busy. I headed down to Laramie, Wyoming which houses the University of Wyoming, so it is a fun college town with many food options, art galleries, yoga studio’s, etc. I met with former CLM intern from the Lewistown, Montana field office, Erica Duda, we camped overnight at the Vedauwoo campground and explored the Medicine Bow Wilderness.


Erica Duda (stage left) and me at Overlook Lake in the Medicine Bow Wilderness outside of Laramie, Wyoming. A well-established and popular trail for tourists!

August will be my last month with the CLM internship. My last month living in the town of Buffalo, Wyoming. And my last month living in the West, as far as I know. I’d like to say I’ll be back out here for more adventures! The geology, recreational opportunities, and wildlife is so unique out here that saying goodbye just for now is all I can manage.


Insect Lesson Plan

The Buffalo BLM range staff, Dusty Kavitz (standing center) and me (standing right), teaching body parts of an insect to first graders.

The Buffalo BLM range staff, Dusty Kavitz (standing center) and me (standing right), teaching body parts of an insect to first graders.

May 27, 2015 Buffalo, Wyoming-Dusty Kavitz, Rangeland Conservationist, and myself, Range Intern, headed down to the Clear Creek Trail System to teach about insects, particularly grasshoppers and crickets. Upon arrival we visited with Nicole Schmidt, an elementary school teacher at Buffalo’s Meadowlark Elementary School. There were other professionals teaching too; Wyoming Game and Fish Department teaching about Aquatic Invertebrates, Johnson County Weed & Pest teaching about Mosquitoes, US Forest Service teaching Bugs & Trees, and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality teaching Food for Fish. The roughly 70 first graders piled in with their respective teachers.

Our first group of first graders ready and willing to learn about INSECTS! Dusty started out explaining insects are made up of head, thorax, and abdomen.  One volunteer was chosen to stand in front of the rest and get dressed with head (helmet), antennae (costume antlers), wings (costume wings), exoskeleton (garbage bucket cover), and an egg (plastic Easter egg) for the abdomen. After the dress-up was finished we sang “head, thorax, abdomen and three legs” to the tune of “head, shoulders, knees and toes”. First we would sing at normal speed and then faster, telling the group they were the fastest yet.  Next, Dusty quizzed them on what is an insect? A spider? No. A roly-poly? No. A lobster? No. A cricket? Yes. A grasshopper? Yes.

To make the lesson a bit more specific we focused on grasshoppers and crickets. These insects live in grasslands of wide open spaces in Wyoming. They are an important food source for birds and help break down plants to turn into soil. The difference between grasshoppers and crickets; crickets are nocturnal and grasshoppers are diurnal. Grasshoppers have vivid colors and crickets are more neutral colors to blend in with the landscape. We ended each session with a poem Walking on Ears from the Center for Insect Science Education Outreach at the University of Arizona. The poem relates how a cricket chirps, hears, sees, and smells to how humans see, feel, smell, hear, and sing.

After 5 different sessions and 3 hours of sunshine in a grassy field, our work was done. The kids were heading back to school and the professionals heading back to their respective offices.  What a terrific way to start the day!


May in Buffalo

A wise man once told me to not stay at the CLM internship into the winter. I did not listen, so I stayed.  I was provided with work in the field, but weather was harsh. It rarely allowed us to get outside.

Early Spring has proven difficult too! Rain makes it difficult to use two track roads with the truck. Instead, we used the UTV. It was fun and efficient for collecting data. Currently working on range improvement projects. Mapping fence lines, stock tanks, and reservoirs on BLM land.

IMG_5040 (1)

A day in the range with the UTV.

Looking forward to more time spent outside. This field season will be busy. I will be tackling several projects, one of them being my own. The projects are range improvement projects, range health assessments, seed collection, and vegetative data collection for the Powder River Basin Restoration Initiative.


Back in Buffalo

Hello CLMers,

I am in Buffalo, Wyoming for my second CLM internship. This is the same location as last years.  Some ask, “Why, didn’t you look at other CLM opportunities?”  Answer: I really enjoyed my time at this field office.  Living between the Big Horn Mountains and the Sagebrush Steppe habitat with access to a small urban downtown.  Also, co-workers around my age who are still very excited about what they do for a living.

My thoughts go out to Justin Chappelle, a BLM legend, who has moved onto a CLM internship in Washington (round 3), Jill Pastick, an intern with this office last year, whom starts California in June, and a friend Alia Richardson starting in Oregon. I hope your field season is just as enjoyable as lasts, if not more!

Looking forward to plant identification, bird surveys, vegetation surveys and new unique experiences.

Till the next blog post.

Final Blog (until round 2)

I started in June.

I am naturally critical being from New York. Then spending 10 years in Vermont, I’ve been a flat-lander, an outsider, someone who doesn’t belong. I expected the same experience in Wyoming.

Instead I was greeted with smiles and care. I was offered bedding materials, pots and pans, and food from co-workers. My room mates and I had created this friendly dynamic of sisterhood. The town turned out to be extraordinarily safe due to a large police force. The house we lived in was fun-a hot tub, large living quarters, and plenty of parking.  I enjoyed the small town atmosphere and immediate access to the mountains.  I became a member at the YMCA, library, yoga studio, and an occasional volunteer at the food pantry. I liked small town living! Enjoyed it so much I will be coming back for a second term (April-August 2015)! THANKS CLM!

Highlights at the BLM include gaining new skills-plant ID, bird ID, methods and observations. I better understand government structure. I got to attend a wildlife conference. Learned not to eat ground plums even though your co-worker says it’s safe. Taught a co-worker how to identify a plant for the first time, using a dichotomous key. Roamed my first historic fire in search of young sagebrush revival. Organized my own project.

My expectations were met and they exceeded what I envisioned the CLM experience would be like. What is happening in the West was of utter surprise to me. Culture and how we’ve chosen to use the landscape.

Important a-ha moments were GPS and GIS troubleshooting.  Mainly getting in the field and realizing my GPS has everything I need and more for field work.

At 27, living in small town USA, and working for the BLM-I finally realized who I am as a person. I never had time enough to breathe and realize what I really wanted from life. I do now.




It’s almost over but I’LL BE BACK!

Hello friends,

I was granted an extension that ends January 23rd.  I will be back at my field office in Buffalo, Wyoming, on April 1st for a second term. Some of you may be chanting, “serial CLMer” but hear me out.

I was given a habitat restoration project upon my arrival at the BFO.  I have completed vegetation surveys for 5 out of 30 historic fires. They would hand this responsibility off to the next intern, but I would like to continue this.

Possibly turn the project into a masters degree, starting in September 2015, and this would be the internship component. My options are either University of Wyoming (BLM already partners with them) or Northwestern (connection with CBG). I already have support from my mentors.  This could be really great! Email me at hbromberg09@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Thanks for listening & caring!


It can be lonely, oh so lonely…but, that’s OK-I got field work!

Hello fellow CLM-ers!

I know many of you live in remote areas of the country.  I live in a town of 4500, which is small, but it’s still suburbia nonetheless.  I have the library, gym, grocery stores, and restaurants to keep me busy if need-be.  Also, the Big Horn Mountains are right here for adventures.  But with all the other interns gone it’s kind of lonely.

Let me elaborate, this summer I had 2 room mates and 4 friends outside the homestead. We hung out all the time! Exploring the area, traveling around the state or to Colorado and South Dakota, we exercised together (Ms. J. Pastick), went to conferences together and then worked together! A lot of ‘we’ time. Well…that is no longer.

My time in Buffalo became quiet very quickly. Initially, I didn’t want to just enjoy it, so I turned to the office to get that socializing ‘fix’ I need, as if it’s a drug. I worked with range-land conservationists, wildlife biologists, environmental policy specialists, natural resource specialists, and the recreation planner (she’s fantastic, a lot of personality, and very admirable). As you can see, there is a lot of networking to be had in this office. Then, after work I went to a co-workers house for dinner and look at these great leftovers!

food yumm

Then, the moment of truth-a field day to myself!!! (queue the music-dun dun dun).

I started to worry for me, thinking I would lose some sort of character I’ve obtained through socializing all these years and all this time in Buffalo.  I know this seems irrational, mainly because it’s only 1 day, and that our line of work (botany, wildlife, and forestry) requires independent field work. In my defense, here at the BFO we haven’t had any solo field days! We’ve always gone out in groups-always.

So, I went out there…gulp….by myself….and….IT WAS AWESOME!  I hadn’t realized how independent I can be.  I drove an hour out, then onto snow covered secondary roads, made a radio call into the office every now and then, went up hills and through valleys.  Then I came to a funky gate that looked difficult.  I decided I shouldn’t open it for fear I couldn’t close it on my own.  So, I parked the truck and walked in a mile.  On my hike, I saw wildlife tracks in the snow, heard bird calls, appreciated the view (see below), and sang to myself.  It was nice.  Not terribly different from being with my co-workers, yet in the same respect, I was alone!


To all of you interns out there dreading this day-fear not! It’s worth it.  It might even be something to push for if you haven’t already had the experience. On another note, I realized the truck I was using didn’t have chains for the tires or kitty litter. Then, I realized I don’t know what sort of snow conditions would make me want to use the chains.  I don’t know how to put them on either.  I watched a video once, but it’s more memorable to do it yourself. So, that’ll be another project this week.  Yay, more work!

I haven’t talked about science at all in this blog. So…let me talk about my project with the Powder River Basin Restoration Initiative (PRBRI).  Utilizing GIS, I use the buffalo field office layer, than add Greater sage-grouse core and connectivity layer, within those parameters I add the fire perimeter layer and pick a historic fire.  Call the lessee or land owner by looking up their information in the physical range files (billing history).  I double check this information online because sometimes a person has changed ranch hands. Possibly a death in the family or old age. I don’t want to call a landowner and them tell me, “oh, that was my mother-she died.” After I receive permission, I ask for best road access and conditions, inquire about locked gates and the fire. Also, I give a time frame of when to expect me on the property.

I print out maps that include the following details; coordinates, township, range, section, ownership, basement and topography (separate maps), prairie dog towns, fire perimeter, roads w/ names (if available), well #’s (for locating purposes), and fence line (if available). I print out my comprehensive field form. This may take 1-2 hours to assemble, print, and organize.

For mobilizing, I grab 2 GPS units with backup batteries, uploaded maps, and Terrasync technology.  Also, make sure the updated data dictionary has been installed.  Grab UTM’s for road access. Don reflective vest, warm clothing, bring back-up warm clothing, gators, and hand/foot warmers. Check out on white-board, grab a field buddy, and field vehicle.

Now, ready for the field-whoopeee!!  In the field, ALOT of time is spent going to and fro, then traveling down secondary or two-track roads-safely, to get to your destination.  Once I find my historic fire, I hike up to the top of the tallest mound.  This is to get a good vantage point.  In the fall, I can easily use ocular estimation to determine cheatgrass infestation-it is whitish compared to say crested wheatgrass. Then I’ll walk a transect of the fire, taking a vegetation inventory as I go, and mapping distinct areas of cheatgrass infestation, juniper, and sage brush revival.

That’s all for now folks!

Winding down, but not yet done

Hello my fellow CLMers,

Originally I believed this internship at the Buffalo Field Office (BFO), Wyoming, would last me until November and then I planned on heading back to Vermont.  Plans changed last month when I got offered an extension till January. After talking to my co-workers, I realized myself and one other were the only people interested in the extension.  I thought, “hey, more for us!” But, as the other interns slowly leave, one after the other, I am left alone and lonely in the small 4,500+ town.

Justin C. left last month and having been a CLM intern in Burns, Oregon 2013, he mentally prepared me that it would get slow.  Overly enthusiastic I thought, “hey, I would love to have that period in my life where things slow down”. Although, things haven’t really slowed down, the opportunities are there, but I have limited myself. I don’t want to over-commit and spread myself thin. Consequentially, I have had and am bound for slow days.

My time is divided between two projects;

One of those projects being my own, Powder River Basin Restoration Initiative (PRBRI) work, restoring Wyoming’s native habitat in the Greater Sage Grouse (GSG) ‘core’ area.

The ‘core’ area is determined by multiple GIS layers indicating where the GSG migrate, brood, and lek. These numbers are determined by ocular estimation, telemetry and other field methods.  I have not gone out on a GSG survey yet, but hope to sometime with the Wildlife Biologists.

My work for PRBRI is to compare the vegetation seen in aerial imagery (classification), captured this past summer,  to what’s on the ground, also known as ‘ground-truthing’. With snow cover now on the ground, I can’t map vegetation outside, so this will be strictly GIS work until snow melt.

The other project is for the Range Specialists, it has the acronym RIPS-Range Improvement Project something-heehee. This is when Sara, Jill and I, with our mentor, Charlotte, have gone out to BLM land, via F-150 trucks, to map data points for fence lines, stock tanks, reservoirs and counted cattle herds, with GPS Trimble. We have a range improvement data dictionary that was created by previous CLM intern, Nicholas Dove. Also, we record weed encroachment on the aforementioned data points. This will be a winter long project and an easy way to get in the field instead of another office day.

Outside of work, I am hanging with what’s left of my friends/co-workers in town. One of them being this lovely lady;

Puggle=Pug+Beagle  This 10-year old is still spunky and dresses in warm apparel. She fashions the latest faux fur lined hoodie with skull and cross bones on the back. Her purple plastic footwear keeps her paws warm from the snowy and freezing outdoor temps.


This 10-year old is still spunky and dresses in warm apparel. She fashions the latest faux fur-lined hoodie with skull and cross bones on the back. Her purple plastic footwear keeps her paws warm from the snowy and freezing outdoor temps. Seriously, freezing (see below)!

It's been cold, very cold. Check out that -8F reading!

Check out that -8F reading!

Aside, from the freezing temps, it has snowed here in Buffalo, Wyoming.

Snowy. Thankfully snow removal is included in the rent-speaking of rent is CHEAP in Buffalo, WY.

:: My apartment’s      parking-lot::

Thankfully snow removal is included in the rent..speaking of rent it is CHEAP in Buffalo, WY. Especially when you split a 2-bedroom apartment between 4 people! There have been times we have all needed space but now that 2 of them are leaving it’ll be bittersweet with all that open space.

After all the slow days, I still have a lovely apartment to sleep and eat in. It’ll be desolate after everyone’s departure from Wyoming, but it’s home.  My Plan: put up my feet and drink some hot cocoa once the place is cleared.  Also, working out at the YMCA around the corner and visiting my local library are all good things to keep a college town gal busy in a small town.

Hope you enjoyed,

Heather B.



Dear Justin,

What a wonderful summer! The CLM interns were successful in range monitoring, seed collections, and Powder River Basin Restoration (PRBR) journeys.  We had so many adventures at work and outside of work. Our extracurricular activities ranged from visiting Sturgis, South Dakota, to Teton National Park, Wyoming.  Aside from adventuring, we’ve eaten plenty of delicious Mexican and Chinese food-yummm. Now… you are venturing forward to Denver, Colorado, a back-packing trip in the Amazon O_O, then further pursuing your career in botany and wildlife.
I can easily say that you will be missed in Buffalo, Wyoming. Your intelligence of plants and wildlife is non-comparable to those around us.  You memorized all USDA plant codes, Latin names, common names, and medicinal uses…among other descriptors.  You do not need a dichotomous key, you already are an encyclopedia! I will miss the Chris Durham notes, “Please report to Chris “The Totes” Durham or Charlotte Darling to report in to say that you are doing fine” that you leave sticker-ed on my monitor.  I will miss when you call my cube and you’re only one cube away. I’ll miss the parallel parking of your office chair. Certainly will remember your hypothetical scenarios and stories with no climax, that are pleasant and funny.  You certainly have a way of making people smile : )

Till next time,         BYE JUSTIN : )

Thank you…for all that you do to make people smile (always), for sharing your ideas and opinions.  Thank you for coming out in the field with me on the PRBR site visits.  Aside from your help at work; thanks for the root beer floats, the pineapple, the rocks, sharing your knowledge and stories, traveling, entertaining, and have I mentioned already-JUST BEING YOU!
Thanks again,

Back in Wyoming…not better, just different

Hello everyone,

Beautiful rural Vermont

Beautiful rural Vermont-foliar peak overlooking miscellaneous lake

Just visited Vermont last weekend for a wedding during its foliar peak.  I had left in May for my CLM internship after living there for 9 years! Beautiful colors, well-used hiking trails, and familiarity are all reasons I love Vermont. Comparatively, Vermont never offered me the wildness that Wyoming does! Even after hiking a section of the Long Trail (VT) for 10 days in October of last year, never once did I come across moose, deer, black bear, or other ungulates (only startled 2 grouse). What a disapointment!  Now, being in Wyoming, I can’t take a jog without coming across pronghorn, mule or white-tailed deer. Lovely bird songs seem to constantly be in choir when I’m outdoors. A hike in the Cloud Peak wilderness and I’m bound to run into more wildlife. I very much enjoy this part of the country.

Overlook at Grouse Mountain-3.5 miles up and what a lovely view, got to see it all over again on the way back down!

Overlook at Grouse Mountain-3.5 miles up and what a lovely view, got to see it all over again on the way back down! (Buffalo, Wyoming)

Originally, I moved to Wyoming for the seasonal work that the CLM internship offered, but now I realize it’s more than that. It’s not better than the northeast, as I had to explain to friends and family, it’s just different. I can’t emphasize that enough.

Jumping back into working for the BLM, after taking a extended break (10 days) from it, and the office is barren. Most people are out in the wilderness…hunting. The season just opened this past weekend. Mud cakes the Squeaky Kleen car wash from all the vehicles coming in after hunting. I know this specifically because I was there washing a vehicle today and the owner was complaining to me mid-wash. I assured him that the field vehicle was not a contributor.

Back in the office, I am catching up on emails and communicating with co-workers on projects for the coming weeks.  Currently working on a habitat restoration project for the Greater Sage Grouse (Centrocerus urophasianus) by conducting field work.  The field work includes; mapping Big Wyoming Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), cheat grass (Bromus tectorum), Japanese Brome (Bromus japonicus) and Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum) within historic wildfire perimeters.  The historic wildfires are found on GIS through an exisiting (out dated) layer.  Ground truthing is the focus right now, until end of October. Out in the field, mapping vegetation within the fire perimeters will be used to establish a vegetation layer in GIS.  A layer that will be available to the Buffalo Field office (BFO) and any other agency that may be interested.  The funding for this work came from the Powder River Basin Restoration initiative through the BLM, and pays for my internship with CBG.

The project began when my mentor, a former rangeland specialist, took on a new position at the BFO to restore the Powder River Basin.  After spit balling ideas with like professionals she crafted the project you read above.  With the help of the vegetation layer, which will cover BLM, state and private lands (within the BFO), we will be able to spray for annuals (targeting invasive) possibly 10+ years down the road.  The hope is that post spray the encroaching Bromus spp. will die off, which will give way to accessible bareground for native bunchgrasses to grow and out compete invasives. With native bunchgrasses back this provides desirable land for sage grouse habitat. Another implementation plan is to raise Big Wyoming Sage Brush and manually plant them in these historic wildfires to bring back habitat (post spray).  This has been very rewarding work, I am still in the preliminary stages. Please let me know if you have experience with this and what that experience was like in the comments section (thank you).

Originally, I thought there wouldn’t be work at BLM BFO this winter, but I was wrong. There is plenty of field work and plenty of office work too! I look forward to a Wyoming winter because it’s different from my native northeast and New England home base, and there is work to be done!