From Green to Grey

The past 6 months of this internship have been a wild, wonderful roller coaster. I couldn’t have asked for a better job right out of college!

A quick 5 things that this job has taught me:

  1. Marshes are unpredictable; tread lightly or you may get a boot full of sulfur water.
  2. Seed collecting during a hurricane can be difficult. And wet. (Shout out to Hurricane Joaquin.)
  3. Permethrin. Permethrin. Permethrin.
  4. Mosquito face nets are also a good investment (especially for Chincoteague Island).
  5. Hotel continental breakfasts are life savers. Especially when they have chocolate milk.

It has been an amazing experience to see the landscapes change so drastically from blooming, lush meadows to crunchy, withered fields.


Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD. September // November.

And a few fun pictures from our trips. The color scheme of November is brown // grey.


Collecting Spartina patens is an arduous task. Sometimes you just have to lay down in the marsh.


Carefully treading through the marshes at Blackwater NWR, MD.

Another erie scene at Pettigrew State Park, NC

Grey skies at Pettigrew State Park, NC


Blackwater NWR, MD


Clear skies at Robinson Neck Preserve, MD


Farewell, friends.


Ponies and Opuntia

As October comes to an end, we are collecting more seeds than ever before as we continue to travel the east coast. On our last trip, my crew member and I made 37 collections! Space in the seed room is getting a bit tight.


Seed room at NCBG

We had the opportunity to collect some really awesome things, like Opuntia humifusa, prickly pear!


Opuntia humifusa from Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, MD

And we got a closer look at the wild ponies of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.


Pony at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

We spent most of the time on the coast, so the sites were all amazing.


Horns Point Laboratory, MD


Mason Neck State Park, VA


Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, VA

Since the days are getting shorter, we get to see the sun both rise and set, and they have been spectacular!


Sunrise at Virginia Beach


Sunset at Mason Neck State Park, VA


Sunset at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, VA




Farewell, summer.

Summer has come and gone, and what do we have to show for it? Well, the SOS team at the NC Botanical Garden has over 100 collections of native seed!

In anticipation of the Emerald Ash Borer, we helped collect pumpkin ash, Fraxinus profunda, at Dyke Marsh in Alexandria, VA. Little did we know that Pope-a-polooza was upon us! Wading through the traffic, we made it to our field site and finally got to collect on a boat!

Collecting Fraxinus profunda.

Collecting Fraxinus profunda.


The most recent update for the east coast is Hurricane Joaquin. While it looks like he’ll be avoiding landfall with the U.S., we are getting a lot of rain and wind. We moved off of the NC Outer Banks and onto the mainland in Virginia to wait out some of the weather before resuming our seed collection.

I’ll leave you with some photos of our beautiful collection sites.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, MD

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, NC

Blue mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum, at Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, NC

Blue mistflower, Conoclinium coelestinum, at Swanquarter National Wildlife Refuge, NC

Jockeys Ridge State Park, NC

Jockeys Ridge State Park, NC




Triumphs and Trials in NC

After a very productive week in the NC OBX, the team returned to Chapel Hill for seed cleaning, debriefing, and planning. Our greatest feat was collected over 10,000 Prunus serotina seeds at Currituck Banks!



To take break from the seed room, we would help monitor some of NCBG’s properties while we studied up on our species list. But it’s North Carolina and we get a lot of flash rain showers…



After a week in Chapel Hill, we were ready to get back into the field. We planned out a trip up to Virginia and Maryland with five sites in mind. However, we found that seed production is experiencing a weird hiatus where some species are done producing, while others aren’t ready to be collected! We still got to see some awesome scenery and wildlife: a rafter of turkeys and a pair of bald eagles. Sadly, we saw no black bears this trip.



Until next time!



The First Month of SOS East

Training, scoping, collecting, oh my!

June was a busy month for the interns at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. After a week of SOS East Training here in Chapel Hill, N.C., we dove into research. With our heads buried in herbarium specimens and Delmarva Peninsula maps, we prepared for our first trip to the coast.

We traveled through North Carolina up to Virginia and Maryland. During our time, we saw some beautiful coastal plain habitats…



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But when we returned, we had work to do: seeds to clean and more permits to acquire.

Until next time!