Final Reflective Blog Post – Arcata BLM Field Office


There is a depth to the grey around Humboldt Bay that is returning, announcing that summer’s regency is fading. It is time again for the rainy season, for the kind of turning inward easily imbibed through cool misty silver clouds hanging low. I walk the oxidation ponds in sandals with cold feet, watching the Canada Geese return.


Seeds have mostly fallen, generally making themselves invisible once again. But I am still looking, along the edges of the trail and between cracked pavement. When I find a few dusty seeds, I may search for their parents nearby, or hold them close to my face to marvel, or slip them in my pocket, or put a couple in my mouth if I am feeling confident in my twenty-something imperishability. Seeds are the flowers of fall, as wholly mysterious as we can ever imagine – profoundly alive under their protective seed coat.


These are the patterns of a CLM intern coming to close and reflect on an experience that is a seed itself. The seed coat, that encapsulating article of this experience, has been passion for the more than human world solidified in the leaping of flowers, dense tradition of seed collecting, joy of wind, fresh flight of birds, excitement of discovery gleaned in each step. The nutritive endosperm has been those that keep the CLM program running and the diverse, challenging, wonderful Arcata BLM Field Office. The embryo – with a radicle of duties traditional for CLM interns in my field office, and cotyledons composed of my own unique contributions – is my emerging career as a conservationist.

In the past several weeks my work as a CLM intern has revolved around completing my commitments to the survey work I have been involved in on the Humboldt Bay Dunes, the satisfying high ridge of art and science found in herbarium work, and a few forays to the field. In these two weeks preceding my last day in the office, September 23rd, I am preparing a final presentation regarding my contributions to the Arcata BLM Field Office, spreading the final bits into their respective places and writing my experience into being.  Today I stop and stare at the seed that is my seven month CLM internship at the BLM Field Office in Arcata, CA. This is my final reflective blog post.


I began my internship with March rain, deep grey and cold northern Pacific Ocean winds. In the preceding two months, I drove from my parents’ house in San Diego to New Orleans and back again, living lightly in my dusty car; following the border looking for birds with a dear friend. In the ebullient life inversion of arriving in Arcata I experienced the gamut – animation, eagerness, beautiful uncertainty, powerful grandeur, loneliness, cubicle-shock, rampant existentialism. These are the salts of life! I learned extensively about the BLM, my field office’s place within a national context, nearly every plant species on the Humboldt Bay dunes, and a newly decadent version of the redwood forest I already knew deeply. I contributed to the BLM Arcata CLM intern tradition of monitoring threatened and endangered plants on the Humboldt Bay dunes. I completed the 14 transects totaling ~2,800 individual quadrats and loved every moment of salt spray, morning fog, and cascading blooms as the dunes awakened for spring. I also contributed to my field office during this period in my own unique ways: teaching 7th graders about botany, leading Godwit Days Birding Festival field trips and logging botanical discoveries. Before I knew it I was sunburned and flower saturated.

My CLM internship furthered in gaining density as spring turned to summer. I came to reflect on the etymology and place of my stewardship, beginning in the simple and prosaic act of pulling broom along roadsides. I continued these pragmatic acts, which in themselves represent the traditional aspect of my CLM internship, because my mentor has been pulling from many of the same sites year after year. These acts coalesced in a week long backpacking trip with the Mattole Restoration Council along the Lost Coast, where we focused on invasive plant removal. I also had the extreme pleasure of spending my birthday in the backcountry. What seemed at first to be an unpoetic act of stewardship fed my inspiration to explore these acts of care, compassion, responsibility, and atonement.

Near this time I also began two of my most significant contributions to my field office, following the theme of traditional and unique contributions.

First, I began collecting for the Seeds of Success (SOS) program, which I began early, my first collection falling on April 20th. In my field office, each SOS collection season is an entirely new endeavor, as we strive to collect species and populations we have never collected before. With over six iterations of CLM interns in my field office, all collecting for SOS, finding new species and populations that fit the SOS criteria (>10,000 seeds from >50 individuals) is a journey of discovery! Gratefully, I managed to collect from 9 species that had not been collected from before in an area that had received very little previous study. To this end I was responsible for finding the plants/populations, identification, monitoring phenology, collecting, packaging, shipping, pressing and mounting! Managing the SOS program at my field office was a fantastic experience, training the skills of project management and implementation.

Second, I began to make weekly (and sometimes bi-weekly) trips to a BLM property known as Butte Creek, an area that had previously received little botanical attention. Butte Creek is magnificent, resting in the Klamath Mountains foothills region, containing a number of diverse habitats, threatened by the cultivation of cannabis from all sides, and under-botanized on a regional scale. I used my strengths in field botany to create a plant list for this area, thus far containing 159 species, with more to add! I also made 31 of the 46 herbaria collections I contributed during my internship to the Arcata BLM Field Office (part of the California Consortium of Herbaria) at Butte Creek, making several interesting and unique finds.


Discovery and botanical exploration have been a cornerstone of my internship experience, a prevailing wind that is both deeply part of the seed and intractably nourishing to it. In the simplest of terms, we cannot steward that which we do not know exists. As cut up, mowed down and paved over as our country can at times feel, we still live in the wild wild west; a place constantly unfolding where wildness is all around and in between that fallacious hem of the civilized. It stands that we have a relatively poor understanding of the plants occurring on our public lands, even in California. I had the great privilege to continue to develop my skills as a field botanist while creating botanical inventories and contributing to our understanding of where plants are, a basal node to protecting them.

The collective gain composed by the CLM internship program is staggeringly ingenious. Each year, hundreds of interns with a seed of experience, hundreds of repeated tasks and hundreds more entirely new, hundreds of thousands of seeds collected… Field offices imbued with new enthusiasm, light, life, perspectives, inclinations. Moreover, the opportunity for powerful mentorship is a core aspect to the CLM program — speaking for myself and my cohort at large, mentorship is what we need. Mentorship from those who truly care and are willing to at times travel between the realms of how to key plants and the different ways to live a life. There have been several recent calls for the urgent need to train the next generation of botanists, plant conservationists and herbarium managers. CLM is certainly a potent answer to that call.

Traditional and unique contributions by each intern, in each field office, in each iteration. This has been a wondrous aspect of the CLM program — just how heterogeneous it is, there is a staggering distinctness in every intern, every time, at every office. If each CLM internship is a seed, and that seed is the bolstering of a life in relation to conserving our natural heritage, this is seed collection — for the long haul.


That wonderful internal fluttering has returned again, my heart making its own seven-month turning back to where I began, arriving at another life-transposition. I will soon be travelling down to San Diego to see my marvelous parents, and packing, before setting off for Argentina on October 3rd. I am heading to Central Patagonia, to a region known as Neuquen, to a ranch I visited 2 years ago during a course on the botany and natural history of Central Patagonia. I will be working there as a gardener, ranch hand, carpenter, mill-worker, tutor and naturalist — it is sure to be a rich and diverse time! I am deeply looking forward to life immersed in a different country, and a simpler, more rough-hewn sort of living. The ranch is called Estancia Ranquilco ( Come on down for a visit!

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Beyond that? I am returning to California on March 27th, just in time for the bustling spring. I hope to work as a botanist during that time, and continue in the coming seasons my post-baccalaureate work in botany and plant conservation before starting graduate school in the next 1-3 years. The greatest question in my life at this moment is: “how can I make the greatest impact in conservation with my knowledge, privilege and particular talents?” CLM has certainly influenced that question, but as we know, there are no clear answers. Down the path we wind.

My limitless gratitude for this experience — to all those in Chicago making this program turn — Krissa Skogen, Rebecca Johnson. To my mentor, Jennifer Wheeler and the entire Arcata BLM Field Office — this has been a warm and wonderful home. To my academic mentor Kathleen Kay, and all those who supported me at UC Santa Cruz. Gratitude to those who made my journey on the North Coast bright, my brother Gabe, my parents, the lovely Sierra, and all those I shared a house and town with. Gratitude to plants — giving us all we have — food, air, companionship, discovery, joy, satisfaction. Gratitude to wind, air, blood, feather, bone, sun, the innumerable endless self-replete processes…

“I had no idea as I lay on those caribou skins that evening precisely where wisdom might lie. I knew enough of quantum mechanics to understand that the world is ever so slightly but uncorrectably out of focus, that there are no absolutely precise answers. Whatever wisdom I would find, I knew, would grow out of the land. I trusted that, and that it would reveal itself in the presence of well-chosen companions.” — Barry LopezArctic Dreamstumblr_o6zlab3cku1r82vffo1_1280

All my best, see you in the field!

Kaleb Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office, California


Obliquity — physically used to describe the angle of the tilt of our planet’s axis; a departure from perpendicularity with the planar direction we follow through empty space. Also a description of mystery, of indirectness or obscurity.

There is a certain obliquity that is an arrangement of our existence on this planet. Have you noticed it lately?

Oscillating between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees on a 41,000 year cycle, not a single living creature will come to experience this veering in its entirety. But tilting is the reason for the seasons — and we cannot slight the experience of season. These refractory gateways find their own ways of reminding us of, from the mundane to the grandiose. The seasonal changes we experience not only manifest around our physicality but also within ourselves.

We are here again in the serotinal season. Late summer, where swirling changes are closer than the periphery. Fire, barn swallows out of the nest and into the sky, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, gold grasses with nothing but glumes and the remembrances of vibrant annual wildflowers in their cracking dehiscent fruits. Fall advancing, school coming back on, students returning to Arcata, my next chapter advancing.


Queen anne’s lace (Daucus carota). Arcata Marsh.

In this last month, moving from the inner-bark of July to the serotinal, I have been engaged in my expectedly diverse and open work as a CLM intern. I walked the upper ridges of the King Range to monitor grazing allotments on Johnny Jack Ridge, adding a new experience to my journey at BLM. I took a sort of summer vacation to my heart-place — the big Tuolumne Meadows, were I spent time with friends and family, strolled the high ridges, climbed on feldspar crystals and soaked in the rarefied air. Collecting seeds has certainly been on my plate as well — the collection season is waning and the manzanita berries are nearly ripe!




I have also been heavily engaged by the Humboldt Bay dunes climate vulnerability and adaptation study (which I will refer to as ClimateReady from now on…), which is a collaboration between U.S. Fish and Wildlife, BLM, State Park (and others), funded by California Coastal Conservancy’s climate ready program. The long-term goals of the project are to understand how climate change will effect the dune ecosystem and to test adaptation treatments. More practically speaking, highly sensitive GPS (RTK, real-time kinematic; think 2 centimeter sensitivity) is used to create dune profiles (measurements of elevation) along 73 transects covering 32 miles of Humboldt’s coastline. These dune profiles are coupled with vegetation data and the entire survey is completed every year in winter and summer! I will be working a good deal with this project in the coming month.


Base station and John, Lanphere Dunes.


King Range, Arcata BLM F.O. Lands

Several posts ago, I explored stewardship in the most practical sense. Pulling broom along the roadside. Collecting native seed. Stepping and living lightly. These beautiful tasks are still a strong stream in my work as a CLM intern. That all said, in thinking about the different facets of stewardship, I have recently come to reflect on a stewardship of another kind.

When we engage in stewardship (acts of care, responsibility and love) we use our complete selves as tools. We use our hearts and minds to design solutions, our communication and connections to implement acts and our bodies to carry them out on an area of land (or sea).

Think of a feature of the land. What does it look like, is it as mysterious as the riparian gulch or as clear and pure as the long jagged scarp of granite?

Perhaps we can agree, that these land forms (or sea-forms) exist within ourselves. You may have already considered this. The peak you stand on within yourself when you have achieved a goal, the dark skulking depths you fear to go, the broad plateau within reaching from one experience to another. Are you in the valley of your life or are you on the shore of the lake of your life?

Thus, we are the tools of stewardship, and within us is the land we wish to be the stewards of (the reciprocality of this relationship should be disarming at the very least). On the path to become better stewards — to give more and love more the land that gives us more than we could ever ask for — this connection seems highly relevant.

The stewardship of another kind I wish to elucidate is moral stewardship, the stewardship of self in which we tend to those inner landscapes. The greater care, love and responsibility we can turn to our inner topographies, the more we will be able to give as stewards.

How can we steward our internal landscapes? These are the slot-canyons of exploration and the endlessly mystifying dune sands shifting. Cooperation, compassion, non-violence, temperance and adventuring to those dark inner riparian areas could be a great place to start.


Kaleb Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office, California.

The Inner-bark of July

Lost Coast Headlands

Lost Coast Headlands, Arcata BLM Lands.

These are the days of summer on the North Coast. Often unpredictable – bookended by fog in morning and evening some days; on others morning fog gives way to wind strewn and pellucid evenings. Thirty miles or so to the East temperatures are high and the summer receives its thought-of heat, that awakens elevated flowers and splits to seed the lowland inhabitants. Summer is shifty: drifting between comfortable sensuous inaction and a leap in the metabolic movement of a life.

Here at the inner bark of summer – halfway through July – a turning reflection: I am more than halfway through my CLM internship!

My last day will be September 23rd, a date readily approaching at the speed of life we know to be expectedly incongruous. The next adventure is decided, a return to Patagonia to work on a ranch I visited on my last foray to the South – Estancia Ranqilco. More on this in my final reflective post – today, a hopefully halfway reflective check-in from the land of Redwood, salt-breeze and changing fog!


Mimulus [Erythranthe] cardinalis — Cardinal Monkeyflower — A flower I have enjoyed endlessly in the Sierra Nevada, but had no idea it occurred in the Klamath Foothills!

I have been working mainly on collecting for Seeds of Success since my last blog post, enjoying greatly the cycles of phenology monitoring, seed collection, and packaging, data completion, the final sending off to the Bend Seed Extractory.

Being the one and only CLM intern at my field office, the joy of well-chosen companions in the field is not lost on me, and I have had a plenitude of this special joy over the past several weeks. Wildlife technicians, forest ecologists, and even the assistant field manager of the Arcata BLM Field Office have joined me on my seed collection missions! We build powerful connections not only to the people we work with but also to the work of others when we can take the time to commit to some inter-discipline-inner-office-cross-training. We are afforded respect, understanding and wholesome interrelation with those we share an organization with day in and day out. We are also gifted someone to help us with our multitude of tasks, and reciprocally are confirmed in our ability to be of use outside our particular expertise, happy to provide the gift of a little of our energy to another. This seems a crucial and fulfilling step, too often we are trapped myopically in our disciplines and resource areas. Trade a day with someone doing something very different from you in your office – it won’t be wasted time in any sort of way.


Arcata BLM Field Office assistant field manager Chris Heppe amongst a sea of Ceanothus cuneatus seed!


Ceanothus silk moth — out on its great journey.

At another intersection, seed collection connects us to the more-than-human world in a way that is practical, physical, and ancestral. We have all been seed collectors. Regardless of race, gender, or personal beliefs, when we gather we enter into a nutritive relationship based on mutual respect for the creatures from which we gather. Rather than extoll the personal, ecological, institutional and spiritual benefits of seed collection – I will encourage CLM interns to collect with intention, career-minded adults to advocate for seed collecting/banking/saving and all to pursue opportunities to collect seed! In the beautiful words of Hope Jahren (author of the lucid book Lab Girl): “A seed is alive while it waits. Every acorn on the ground is just as alive as the three-hundred-year old oak tree that towers over it.” May we be fully alive while we collect and may the simple act of collection make us more alive.

Along this same rivulet is another experience I have gratefully accepted through the past weeks as a CLM intern. BLM recently donated a large old growth log that had been sitting in a parking lot to the Wiyot Tribe. An elder from the Yurok tribe agreed to help in the re-learning of the traditional skills of plank-making and dug-out canoe carving. I had the great opportunity to help swing the hammer with both my hands and drive the wedges that split this great 600 year-old log. An experience readily compared to a deep, cool well-spring where water is inimitably needed.

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In the coming weeks – I will be working on Seeds of Success, monitoring grazing allotments, writing drafts of the Headwaters Forest Reserve Resource Management Plan Amendment, feverishly working on mounting and cataloging my herbarium specimens, preparing a butterfly field guide for the Arcata BLM office, and working alongside US Fish and Wildlife on a project monitoring coastal dune geomorphology and vegetation in response to a changing climate.

When I am not on the clock as a CLM Intern these days, I have been venturing away from Arcata most weekends, enjoying all the richness of Northern California.


Red Mountain Meadows, Trinity Alps. A botanist’s paradise!

Notably, the Trinity Alps have taken me in as a sojourner; their granite as much thrust to the West from the mother pluton of the Sierra Nevada as I have been. If one thing can be said certainly about the Trinity Alps, it is that it is a range with illustrious botanical wealth. Spring has arrived in the subalpine – and I had the special privilege to hike one of the steepest trails in the Trinity Alps with my Jepson Manual for an overnight botanical backpacking bonanza. Keep up with a few of the wonders here (or better yet take a walk!): Kaleb’s iNaturalist observations!

In this way, the unique landscapes in which we are placed give their ripe and ready interplay with our work as CLM interns. We do not simply halt our training and inclinations as naturalists, ecologists, conservationists, curious humans when we leave the field office. On the contrary, these skills shine bright after-hours in myriad ways, my anecdote above being just one of them. Because of this, we lead a holistic and wholesome existence in which the false dichotomy between work and play is enthusiastically and passionately eclipsed.


My camp above Echo Lake and Middle Peak.

To summarize these past months and intensify my intentions for the rest of my CLM internship:

I have been beside the water, in large part, as we tend to be with summer coming complete, from the Pacific Ocean and Humboldt Bay to the Mad River, Van Duzen River, Trinity River, Stoney Creek, Echo Lake…

Why? For practice and the pertinence of permeability. To practice patient, longing listening — the melody of the greatest symphony; river, stone, air and sun. I come to practice the olfactory and audible — sweet subtle summer Redwood and Fir. To test remembrance: March storms, birdsong, flowers now gone to seed.

I come to practice my passive permeability. Our simple debt to water makes us naturally osmotic beings — shifting gradients — essentially terrestrial sponges. And so we come alongside the river, the mountains, the sea. Our openness defines what we are — and we must practice and guard our permeability.



Kaleb Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office, California

Strawberry Moon; Gathering the Ripening Fruit

If in my last post spring was swinging to summer; yesterday served as a ready iron gate sending spring clanging shut into summer.

Yesterday was a concurrent summer solstice and full moon: from what I am told it is known as a Strawberry Moon and the last was in the summer of 1967 — the summer of love. And I’m of the kind that feels we could use another summer of love. So here’s to a summer of compassion, gratitude, kindness, transparency and: love.

In the words of the great poet Kahil Gibran:

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.

For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,

and step out of life’s procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering hours turn to music…

Calochortus vestae — note the incredible “double arch” nectary (Look just below the giant black petal spot for a hairy looking line). Also notice the liquid in the cup of this lovely lily. When I saw this I thought it was nectar — so without thinking I slurped it out! Turns out it was fresh rain… You can imagine my glee.

We begin today by yielding to the difficulty of the chronicler — so much has occurred in the last month! I am full of respect for those that narrate the events unfolding before and within them — CLM Interns, mentors, scientists, naturalists, poets…!

Routing a trail through the life of this CLM intern over the past few weeks is one with all the necessary rocks, twists, turns, uphills, downhills and stunning vistas.

The work of a steward runs and flows on brilliantly, like a headwaters rivulet. Through this work we are afforded tiny glimpses of what we previously did not know or did not know was possible. This is called discovery. When the shrouds drop suddenly and we sense what was previously senseless, this is one of the great joys of the naturalist, steward and CLM intern.

The last month on the North Coast has yielded so many of these unveilings, beginning with a trip to botanize and better understand a little known Arcata BLM property with the fantastic mentor and botanist, Jennifer Wheeler. The important thing here is that this area was reported to us as a “moonscape,” which is a very suggestive and tantalizing prospect to a botanist, invoking dreams of new and unique edaphic endemics (plants that only grow on unique and harsh soils). The short is that it was an incredible day, but the “moonscape” was more likely due to slope aspect and very thin soils rather than ultramafic or otherwise unique soil. A few photos of our discoveries:


Allium falcifolium and the plants that enjoy abundance on the moon!


In a field of Mimulus kellogii, this individual showed a unique and wonderful corolla color mutation. I have NEVER seen this before!


Another very, very new plant for me: Cacaliopsis nardosmia: Silver-crown (Asteraceae).










The next exploration expedition I had the privilege of botanizing was out to a large BLM property Travis Ranch, where Jennifer and I monitored grazing leases and had the opportunity to make a few discoveries (along with the rest of the field office):


A genus I have a very special place in my heart for: Clarkia. Clarkia purpurea subsp. viminea (Wine-cup Clarkia).


The very next day I was out in the King Range, my field offices’ most contiguous and best known diamond of discovery. We walked a trail that may some day be official, and Jennifer and I kept our noses to the ground in what can be a rather repetitious habitat type for a botanist — Mixed evergreen forest. We delighted in several of the fantastical mycotrophs — plants that parasitize fungi in order to gain the nutrients they need. These plants are highly ephemeral so it is a real treat to find several of them!


Monotropa hypopytis – Pine Sap. No chlorophyll no problems!


Corallorhiza maculata, Spotted Coralroot (Orchidaceae).



Pleuricospora fimbriolata – Fringed Pinesap

IMG_1271RESIZEI was back in the King Range the very next week for a 4 day/3 night backpacking trip on the Lost Coast with BLM Partner and local conservation supergroup — Mattole Resoration Council. We set off to remove non-native and invasive species in the backcountry, and I gratefully left my camera at home. I spent my 23rd birthday beside the Pacific, camped amongst the driftwood on the beach — enjoying the joining place of mountains, Big Creek and Pacific Ocean.

I was at the office after this trip for a short and high octane week of work on my Seeds of Success collection targets and then was off to the CLM workshop in Chicago!


The CLM workshop and training was a nutritive whirlwind and truly special experience. The farthest East I have ever been — seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time from 37,000 feet — recognizing the beauty of the Midwest, juxtaposed by the fragmentation and lack of wild lands in that part of the country — seeing plainly my unique connection to California and the importance of place-based connection inherent in the CLM program. And this is all superseded by the learning, networking and engagement of the week. I am truly honored to be one small part of the CLM internship program.


Chicago Botanic Garden.


Restored Midwestern Forest. The garden is largely restored native habitats. Also shown is the adept Alaskan intern Jacob Dekraai.

The prevailing wind of these anecdotes is one of discovery — not just for the sake of joy (although a significant side effect), but in the vein of stewardship, cherishing, and comprehension. Without these three aspects we cannot hope to effectively manage the lands we are responsible for. Only with our feet firmly on the ground, our hundreds of senses open, and our minds hungry to connect the seemingly scattered can we give the land that lends so much to us what it deserves. Simple personal discovery is deeply rooted in this process, and it is the process and prowess of the naturalist. I should clarify by saying that almost everything can be ruled a discovery in my usage of this term, especially your meeting with a previously unrecognized organism and fellow member of our collective earth-bivouacking. Even a new day is a discovery — who can know with questionless certainty that it will come again? When we gather the ripening fruits of discovery from all around us, at every possible opportunity, we rise into the light of the lands around us.

Coming on down in the next month!? Continued Seeds of Success collecting, climate adaptation surveys on the coastal dunes, plant lists, herbarium work and mountain time on the weekends!

Kaleb Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office, Arcata, California.



Stewardship, Myth and Natural History from the Edge of Seasons

Rains are falling lighter and lighter with each passing week on the North Coast — a slow intangible division is creeping into our consciousness — spring is turning to summer. As we silently whirl — riding the rotation of our planet at ~1,040 miles per hour — we work, play, laugh, mourn, connect and carry on.



When I seek to delve deeper into a concept — I generally start with etymology. The vast pools of words connected beneath other words leads us deeply into the halls of what we hope to explore. Additionally, in a language and society of millions upon millions of words — we begin to create our own definitions and connotations for those words — it can be helpful to start again with the definition. Not to mention that in the act of defining something we usually realize how little we knew in the first place.

Let’s work with “stewardship.”

Stewardship comes from steward which is composed of stig meaning house or hall and weard, now ward, meaning guardian or keeper. The reference to house leads my mind to a deep connection with the word ecology, which of course contains the root eco- coming from the Greek work oikos, meaning house or home (and –ology, the study of).

Is this connection mere coincidence? Not in the lacy world of an inspired spring-nourished naturalist hemming the bounds and connecting the fragments of stewardship, ecology, natural history and mythology.

Stewardship is, simply, the obligations of a steward (obligation coming from obligare (latin) and oblige (english/middle english) — a formal promise). Stewarding also is an act of care, of responsible planning, of management, protection, responsibility.

I have had an abundance of time during my CLM intern adventures of the past month to consider — and more importantly, carry out stewardship. In essence, my entire CLM internship is based in my work as a steward to the land. In my case, I am afforded the great gift of specifically working as a steward to those wise and verdant botanical aspects of the land.


Calochortus tolmiei; Lacks Creek. If you saw my last photo of this flower (from Lost Coast Headlands) — you may be thinking — how can this be the same species!!??

A great variety of stewardship is going on here at the Arcata BLM, and I am but one small and grateful facet of it. I have had the opportunity to pull, and will tirelessly continue to pull, the multitude of broom species (french and spanish, mostly) from high up on the prairies of Lacks Creek to the shore of the sea at Lost Coast Headlands. We have also been pulling non-native pines from coastal prairies at Lost Coast Headlands (near Ferndale, CA) to protect those open grasslands from being consumed by weedy pines. I have had the pleasure of advising the California Conservation Corps — they are the stewardship superheroes!! I also collected, nursed and delivered 22 bearberry plants (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) to Mattole Restoration Council (Petrolia, CA) to be used in restoration gardens. I am collecting wild germplasm (seeds) to be added to the Seeds of Success program (which will have a full post unto itself), attending meetings for the Humboldt Weed Management Area and Humboldt Bay Dunes Cooperative. Coming up — Ocean Day, where nearly 1,000 local school children help us remove European beach grass (Ammophila arenaria)!

All of this said, we also contribute to stewardship through inspiration and through coming to know aspects of the Earth we did not previously know. This is the practice of natural history.

Another significant aspect of my work as a CLM intern here in the Arcata BLM Field Office is creating a species list for a not-very-well-botanized BLM property — Butte Creek. Butte Creek is part of the Larabee Valley, about 35 miles east from HWY 101. It is part of the foothills of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the site ranges from about 3000-4500 ft. elevation. Containing the full spectrum of habitats — from pastures and rocky scrub slopes to riparian corridors and douglas fir forest — it is quite a wonderful place — take a trip there, you have access to it as much as any other person. The pure sweet joy of botanical exploration is one that relates not only to the past but to important work to be done in the future. More on this project, and how it connects to my other substantial project (seeds of success) in later posts!

Butte Creek, Humboldt County, CA

Upper Butte Creek, Humboldt County, CA



Lower pastures, Butte Creek — showing a profuse bloom of Ranunculus and Cerastium.


Leptosiphon androsaceus, Butte Creek


A very new flower for me! Hemizonella minima! Yes it is only a centimeter tall!


Lupinus albifrons var. collinus, a Seeds of Success 2016 target. Blooming brilliantly on exposed rocky ridges.


Mimulus kellogii, another surprisingly vibrant resident of the steep, rocky and dry.


When we carry out stewardship, we connect to matters that cascade much deeper. We connect to our ancestral memories. Memories that ignite a deep and intuitive remembrance, a feeling in ones own body of the gracious tending of wild landscapes that people have been performing all over the earth for tens of thousands of years, in order to provide themselves and their families with plentiful food, forage, utility. Stewardship has sustained us, and will continue to sustain us — if we engage it.

In engaging in stewardship we create a connection to one vein of mythology. Mythology is a composition of stories (myths), and one application of these stories is to our understanding of nature, culture and the nature/culture confluence. I will leave this here, for now, and extol you for pondering this link. The photo below (in conjunction with the book, The Klamath Knot by David Rains Wallace) has turned my interest in this direction quite strongly. What can we weave with a name, with what we notice, which what notices us? For your consideration:


Ithuriel’s Spear (Tritelia laxa — blue, foreground) and Diogene’s Lantern (Calochortus amabilis — gold, middle-ground). I took this picture in Colusa County, CA (outside of my BLM FO’s lands) — but it is striking to find these species growing together. Also — one of the advantageous wonders of is how tightly bound lessons from miles away come back to my work as a CLM intern in my field office.

The final part of all of this is the essential unity of engaging in stewardship. Unity that at this point in the trajectory of our species we deeply need. In undertaking stewardship — from Arcata BLM to BLM as a whole and on up to national and international, public and private institutions across the globe — we connect to the shared sustaining ground we all walk upon.

Until next time!

Kaleb A. Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office, California, United States, Earth.

A Break in the Clouds: Striding the North Coast

A month gone — and I am gratefully sunburned and flower saturated, as any naturalist living another unfolding California Spring hopes to be! My internship, at the BLM Field Office in Arcata, CA is off to a diverse and rolling start! The rain fell strong and the sun shone bright during these past weeks, taking me from the coast to the upland oak woodlands — from North Spit to South Spit, around Humboldt Bay and back again!

As I outlined in my last blog post, a recurrent and rather large project we have going here is vegetation monitoring, at five different sites across BLM properties on dune habitats in Humboldt County. I have completed 12/14 30.5-meter transects, each with approximately 200 individual quadrats aligned along 20 benchmarks. Within each quadrat, I quantify the amount of vegetation, identify and record the occurrence of every species, and count the number of Layia carnosa, a federally endangered annual dune plant. This week I will finish dune monitoring!

This all said, one of the most exciting logistical things about my position (many reading this know how and what truly excites me — those living/flying/blooming multitudes!) has been the diversity of my work. A whirling selection to prove it:

I have visited many of the prominent Arcata BLM lands. This is a remarkable task because one unique aspect of the BLM in Humboldt County as compared to other BLM offices in the nation is that our office has very few large tracts of land, and hundreds of smaller parcels. In these visits I am swept by the magic of blooming coastal dunes, struck by sun shining on wide rivers, listening for sparrow songs or watching the Norther Harrier glide low, pulling non-native pines high above the roiling northern oceans on coastal prairie, or lost in a wind-waving sea of European beach grass!

I am working on a project to teach 7th graders from Freshwater Charter School about the epic adaptations of the dune-forest plants, while they film me and create public service announcements on Ipads! I had my first scoping meeting at the site with local filmmaker Barbara Domanchuk and in the next month will lead the field trip and make a classroom visit! Gulp!

I also had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Interpretation Regional Conference! This weekend I will help lead two field trips for the Arcata’s Godwit Days Birding Festival!

The next large project at the office is our contribution to Seeds of Success, a national native wild seed collection program. Our office intends to contribute collections from 7-9 species, which is quite involved! First, we scout out locations and possible target species and in my office, where the program has been running for several years, it takes some creativity and work to keep it fresh! For each species, we collect, press, mount and accession 2-3 voucher specimens in Spring. In summer, we generally begin collecting seed, making sure to collect AT LEAST 10,000-20,000 seeds from 50 or more individuals. In Fall, we groom the data collection and send our seed collections to be processed and cleaned in Bend, Oregon. For now, I am happily emulating Willis Lynn Jepson and easily fantasizing that I am an important rare plant explorer! Too much fun!

Throughout all of this, the plants have led the way, and I have expanded my botanical knowledge widely — I won’t bore you with the big list of new plants I have seen recently, but see below for several lovely pictures of my favorite recent sightings. I am also adding several of my new sightings to: my inaturalist account!. This is the gracious and heartful ground of our naturalist path, the pure enchantment of coming to know parts of our world, beautiful parts, that we never knew were in existence prior to that moment of revelatory discovery.

Beyond the work frame, I have been spending every possible moment in the field, exploring and delighting on a fresh and personally unexplored region of California. I made a quick backpacking trip to the King Range, remembering the value of even the shortest backpacking trips and delighting in the thickest Iris douglasiana blooms I have ever seen. The most notable creature was a moth…a very, very notable moth, Saturnia mendocino, (get the close up) which I took a very sloppy and overly excited photo of:

Saturnia mendocino -- note that it had landed (incredibly breifly, let me assure you) on a burned and recently resprouting Manzanita burl.

Saturnia mendocino — note that it had landed (incredibly briefly, let me assure you) on a burned and recently re-sprouting Manzanita burl.

This moth, part of the impressive silk moth family, is an elusive creature, flies in the day on the edge of chaparral and madrone/mixed forests. Some professional lepidopterists in California have never even seen it! In addition this this little trek, I also made my way north to see the serpentine bogs home to the California Pitcherplant, Darlingtonia californica! What a world!

That’s all for now! Enjoy every second of Spring from where ever you are reading this from!

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Dune monitoring, Mattole Beach, Humboldt County, CA.

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My first Calochortus of Spring! Calochortus tolmiei.


Calypso bulbosa!


Freaking out about my flower find


Erythronium oregonum


One of our field sites in classic form — South Spit, Humboldt Bay.


A field site, Ma-le’l Dunes, another wonderful day at the office!








Kaleb A. Goff

Arcata, CA BLM Field Office


Beginnings Awash in Rain: First Post from Arcata, CA

I rode north from Santa Cruz in my trusty red Subaru (which is very happy to be back in California after two months of riding around the southern states), windows down in the cold and damp air — so known and yet so new. A few frantic days of house-hunting and floor-sleeping yielded a wonderful small hut for my latest chapter — a CLM internship in Arcata, California working as a botanist for the Bureau of Land Management for the next 7 months. I am already in my second week; reeling as we do from the sidelong speed of living life. I must admit, it has been the most fully “adult” week of my sub-adult life! Happily transitioning into a new chapter, new place, new pretenses for my between undergraduate and graduate school life.

Many habitats have greeted me thus far, further intensifying my pleasure in residing and working in the heart of diversity in the California Floristic Province (that’s right, Northern California has the highest regional diversity in the state!). The dense, resplendent Redwood forest, is quite different than the Redwood forest I came to know near the southern extent of its range in Santa Cruz, CA (where I graduated in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in December). In the north, the charismatic Sequoia sempervirens mixes with several species from the Cascades, including snowflake-foliaged Grand Fir (Abies grandis) and the lustrous grey flake-barked Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis). Groves of Yellow Skunk-Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) cover the low wet forest ravines with long, broad leaves and a warm animal musk. Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) flowering and shedding ruby petals in the babbling draws! Wakerobin (Trillium ovatum ssp. ovatum) blooming white in every shady nook and cranny!

To make things even more overwhelming, spring is springing — not the bloom and bust sort of spring many Californians are used to, but a slowly unfolding sort of spring driven by warm oceans, a warming world and locally, a higher latitude than I have ever lived at! (Pacific Wren and Ruby-crowned Kinglets have already begun singing in my ears and outside my window at home.)

I digress… The past week and a half have been a diverse mix of duties, reflecting the diverse management issues and responsibilities of the Arcata BLM Field Office. I attended a two-day climate change adaptation workshop (directed by EcoAdapt), have been getting oriented and trained, began my primary project for the next months, drove to the King Range to input invasive plant GPS data and judged the Humboldt County Science Fair! My primary work in the coming weeks will be monitoring the dune mat plant communities along the Humboldt coast line, of which the Humboldt Bay hosts the longest continuous stretch in the state. My work out there includes identifying all plant species, discerning cover densities and paying close attention to two federally listed dune plants — the Humboldt Bay Wallflower (Erysimum menziesii subsp. eurekense) and Beach Layia (Layia carnosa). The dune system is a truly beautiful and rare habitat type — salt spray, intense north coast wind, powerful sun, constantly shifting sand. One cannot help but stand in awe of these humble plants (particularly in a year like this, when the entire dune leaps with flowers). Paradoxically, these incredibly well-adapted plants exist within a fragile matrix — a habitat that is in many locations inhospitable to native species due to invasions of European Beach Grass (Ammophila arenaria) and Iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis and C.chilensis).

Samoa Dunes, Transect #3!

Samoa Dunes, Transect #3, a classic example of North Coast Dune Mat habitat.

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Federally endangered plant #1: Erysimum menziesii subsp. eurekense. Growing characteristically close to Artemisia pycnocephala, an indicator species.

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Federally endangered plant #2: Layia carnosa. Many more rosettes in the background!

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Spring? The wonderful Sanicula artopoides, the Footsteps of Spring.

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Close-up (Iphone photo through a hand lens) of Platystemon californicus — Cream Cups.

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Claytonia exigua ssp. exigua


The incredible Dune Silver Bee (Habropoda miserabilis), perhaps the most important dune pollinator, doing what it does on Humboldt Bay Wallflower.

Anyways….back to the dunes! Thanks for reading!

Kaleb Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office