Richfield, Utah seed collecting is in full gear

Hi All,

After a slow start to our seed collecting season, we are off at a sprint.  We have spent quite a bit of time out in the West Desert for our initial seed collecting.  Our recent excursions into the mountains have resulted in 10 possible collections and a wonderful escape from the heat.  And I must mention it was absolutely breathtaking!! While out collecting seed and hiking around looking for plants of interest, I am often struck by the realization that many people never get to have a job like this: driving around, hiking, exploring Utah’s natural areas, and botanizing.  Plus we’re getting paid for this, which so mind-blowing 🙂

Learning to recognize common native plants has been awesome.  I have come to enjoy trying to key out plants with the help of my fellow intern who, thankfully, was a botany major.  Coming up with a name for a species I don’t know is always so satisfying (especially when it’s one we can collect). I am definitely looking forward to our return trips to the mountains to collect more seed!!

Cassie Heredia


Richfield, Utah

Boulder Mountain

Boulder Mountain looking east

Old Man's Whiskers

Geum triflorum: Old man’s whiskers

Cook Lake, Boulder Mtns

Cook Lake, Boulder Mtns

Cactus chasing in the Utah desert

The last month and a half of this internship has been filled with long drives through Utah’s extensive desert country.  Initial activities have mainly been surveying populations of listed cactus species to help see the population trends over time.  Traveling through Utah in search of cacti has allowed me to see the beautiful desert ecosystems of both the Colorado Plateau in the east and the Great Basin of the west.

As the weather warms, our internship activities are transitioning to seed collection preparation for the Seeds of Success program.  I am looking forward to continuing to learn the region’s native plants (such as Sphaeralcea grossulariifolia seen below) and viewing more of Utah’s vast landscape.


Globemallow filled valley of the Great Basin






Cassie Heredia

Richfield, Utah

A Flat Lander’s Impressions of Utah

Having spent my life living in northern Illinois where the few hills occur along river courses or areas of glacial deposits, working in Utah has been a mind-blowing change.  I had pursued a CLM internship in hopes of learning about the plants and ecology of a different area of the country and boy is Utah different!


Factory Butte Area

Unlike back home, Utah’s geology is laid bare to inspire and expose the earth’s power to shift and change over vast timescales.  Although it seems to take a long time to get anywhere, driving is great because the landscape gives an ever shifting visual show.  With each terrain shift and turn new formations take center stage and shifting light brings the many color variations to focus.



View of San Rafael Swell

In my two weeks assisting with population monitoring of some listed Sclerocactus and Pediocactus species, I have quickly learned the geology here is not only breathtaking, but is a key component in plants distributions.  Needless to say, I am looking forward to learning more about the region’s geology in the weeks to come and enjoying the geologic show along the way.


The petite Pediocactus despainii


Sclerocactus wrightiae

Cassie Heredia

Bureau of Land Management

Richfield, Utah