Saying goodbye to the Gem State


Today is my last day at the Shoshone Field Office and it is feeling really bittersweet! I am excited to see what life holds for me next, but looking back, I am beyond pleased with how my internship went. One of my favorite things about this position was the diversity of tasks my boss, Joanna, let us explore; With monarch tagging, bumble bee surveying and bat monitoring with Idaho Fish and Game, electrofishing with USGS, rare plant monitoring with the Idaho Natural Heritage Program, and cultural clearances and cave surveying with other teams in our office, it has been a whirlwind! It was great getting to not only work in other areas of ecology that I have not been exposed to, but also work with other agencies.

Of course not every day can be as exciting, we often helped with more mundane tasks, such as GPS’ing fences and accessing range improvements. These days often involved driving through BLM land for hours on end. However, these days proved to be some of the most valuable in my eyes! Spending nearly entire days in a truck with the same three people can really bond you together like nothing else. We often were at our silliest, leading to funny stories and great memories. The people I have met here have been amazing and I truly feel like I have made life long friends.

Elk skeleton – working in the desert you find so many bones and sheds!

Another great thing about Idaho is how jawdroppingly gorgeous it is! Most of my money ended up going towards gas to explore all of the beautiful sights and I have no regrets. The last five months has given me a chance to explore not only Idaho, but Utah and Oregon as well! These weekend trips have been spent with other CLM interns and has provided me with so many fun and unique memories. I was also only four hours away from Yellowstone National Park, which gave my friends and family back home a great incentive to come and visit!

City of Rocks! One of my favorite places in Idaho!

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Logan, Utah! Coming from Florida, I was so excited to see fall colors!!

Signing off from Shoshone,


Monarch tagging, bat mist-netting, and riparian species!

Things have been interesting at the Shoshone BLM. With our AIM duties ending pretty early, we are left to help out on several different projects. These include fun things like monarch tagging, cave monitoring, and recently PFC (Proper Functioning Condition) for riparian areas. The plant identification has been slim lately, but I am excited to ramp things up by learning all of these new riparian species for PFC.

Monarch tagging was such a blast, even though we didn’t actually catch any monarchs! We saw quite a few but they are surprisingly quick and hard to catch. However, as a person who worked with native bees for two years, having a bug net back in my hand felt great.  We did however catch a few viceroy butterflies AND a half black bumble bee (Bombus vagans). Ross Winton, our liaison from Idaho Fish and Game, is very knowledgeable with western bumble bees and has taught me so much about the species here in Idaho.

The following week, we were fortunate enough to help out with some bat mist netting. I wasn’t able to handle any bats due to the fact that I am not vaccinated for rabies, but getting to see bats up close was quite the experience! Doing field work at night is definitely an adjustment though (I was so tired by the end of the night).

Anyways, I am looking forward to seeing what the next two months bring. I am definitely happy to begin keying and learning new riparian species.

Signing off from Shoshone, ID


Half black bumble bee (Bombus vagans)

Silver-haired bat we caught – such a cutie

Juevenile Yellow-bellied Racer found in a riparian area!

Mimulus guttatus (a fun riparian species!!)

CLM round two

Wrapping up my 5th week at my internship in Shoshone, Idaho, it’s hard for me to decide what to write my blog post about! There has been so many exciting moments that it’s hard to choose! This is my second gig with the CLM program, but my experiences have been vastly different. Last summer I worked at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank, doing Seeds of Success work. I was stationed at Staten Island, NYC and I lived in Brooklyn. Now I am here in Idaho working for the the BLM and it has definitely been a change in pace. Although I really loved New York City and having such a unique CLM experience, I can really appreciate the quietness of Idaho.

I’m originally from Florida, so about 10 days before the start of my internship, my cat and I drove out to Idaho. It was a 48 hour drive and luckily I have a cat who weirdly loves the car! Driving across the country was definitely an experience. I had never spent any real time out west before and driving through  Wyoming felt like I was being awoken to the amazing-ness of the west. As I drove into Twin Falls (the town I live in), I am taken by surprise as I cross over a bridge with a GIANT canyon (now I know it’s the Snake River Canyon)! This was just the beginning of the beauty I have discovered in Idaho so far. Seriously, my phone storage has been hating me ever since I moved here.

Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls, ID!

One thing I really love about my job so far is the diversity of things that we get to do. We started out doing a modified version of AIM (Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring). Doing MAIM has been great so far and I really love learning new species of plants everyday. We get to visit beautiful spots and *maybe* one day I will be able to easily identify the different species of sagebrush! However, we are quickly wrapping up that part of the job and are moving on to other projects! We get to help out on various projects with Idaho Fish and Game, which really excites me because I have a degree in Wildlife Ecology and have a love of both plants and wildlife! Today we went out and did bat and invertebrate surveys in three different caves. This was such an awesome experience, even though we did not find any bats unfortunately. Tomorrow we will be helping out on pollinator research! Very exciting stuff!!

Bat and invertebrate surveying

The workshop at the Chicago Botanic Garden was also a great experience. They were lovely hosts and it was so nice getting to meet interns from all over the country!  The “Butterflies & Blooms” exhibit at the garden was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone who visits the garden.


Butterfly or leaf? Found at the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit at CBG

Hiking out to our field site!

Overall my experience has been wonderful and I am looking forward to more to come (and to eat more potatoes).

Signing off from Shoshone, Idaho!

Barbara Garrow

Final Days as a Seed Collector

I am writing this blog post in the final two days of my internship, and I’m still in shock! As much as I told myself to savor my time here, it still feels as if my life has been on 1.5x speed.

Being stationed in New York City, my internship has been a little different than other CLM interns. There are many things I will miss about living in this city – street parking will NOT be one of them (seriously, alternate street parking has been the bane of my existence the last six months). That being said, New York has so many cool opportunities that I will miss! The last few months I have seen numerous Broadway shows, laughed at comedy clubs, gone to concerts, and eaten at world class restaurants. I’m definitely ready for a new adventure, but I am very pleased about my six months here.

Although I was stationed in New York, most of my fieldwork was actually in Delaware. Delaware had its pros and cons, but I definitely found appreciation for certain areas of the state. My position was strictly Seeds of Success, which has really given me a greater appreciation of plants. I really loved working on dune habitats, both in the hot and cool weather! In the hot weather, my partner and I found ourselves taking midday swims in the ocean. In the cool weather, well, it’s just beautiful. Being from Florida, there’s something about the sound of waves that feels comforting!

One of the coolest things about my position was how I was in the same areas day in and day out, so I was constantly seeing how plants change throughout the season. Phenology has never been so conspicuous to me! After this position, I don’t think I will ever be able to turn off the “identify plant” button in my head. This is a habit I really don’t want to lose, anyways.

My final days are filled with tying up lose ends and I feel pretty satisfied with my work. For the state of Delaware, our goal was 75 collections. In the early months, my partner and I were in a constant state of anxiety wondering how we were ever going to achieve this goal! The month of October was absolutely insane, full of 12 hour days and constant collecting. We had a lot of hard collections (Spartina alterniflora, I’m looking at you!), but also enough “easy” collections to balance it out. We finished up our field season with 80 collections, and wow, did it feel good! It was such an amazing experience to be doing on-the-ground conservation and knowing that my hard work will be used for restoration!

I will certainly miss this position and all of the memories that came with it. This is my final post, so I will leave you with some photos of my time here.

Signing off from the Staten Island MARSB office,

Barbara Garrow

Fenwick Island State Park

Lovely dune habitat, featuring Solidago sempervirens (seaside goldenrod) and Ammophila breviligulata (American beachgrass)

Prospect Park

Prospect Park. Brooklyn can be pretty sometimes!


Mantid on some Scirpus cypernius (Woolgrass). We ran into a surprising amount of bugs during the internship!


I can’t believe my internship is nearly halfway over! Time is truly flying by and the ebb and flow of field work is starting to feel normal. After a rather slow June and July, collection season is speeding up, and I welcome it.

In July, I was assigned to my state to work in, which is Delaware, and I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this state. It’s the furthest state from the office (I’m in the New York office), so I spend about eight hours a week just traveling to and from Delaware, which can be tough. We have visited a lot of sites that are fragmented, covered in trash, and just not managed very well, which can be incredibly frustrating. But in contrast, we have visited gorgeous sites that have many of the plants on our list. We have visited pristine dune habitats, beautiful (albeit smelly at times) marshes, and stunning lakes and ponds. I spend a lot of time camping, and my hammock has become a second bed. It’s incredibly rewarding to have a job that allows me to be outside as much as I am.

As the oncoming months arrive, I expect for time to speed up even more. We have spent the last two months working hard to scout out sites for future collections and soon all of that planning will come to use, which is exciting! It feels great to collect seeds, knowing they will be going to restoration projects. It’s a good feeling to know that I am giving back to the ecosystems which I love so much.


Signing off from the Staten Island MARSB office

Barbara Garrow

Tree frog on some cattail (Typha latifolia)

Black racer (Coluber constrictor) just hanging out.

My partner, Gio, trying not to fall into the wetland – a common occurrence while on the job.



NYC livin’ and plant identifyin’

Hi all!

Moving to New York City was not what I expected when I applied for an internship with the CLM program, but I have totally embraced my life as a new New Yorker. I packed everything in my tiny car and prepared to move into a cozy apartment in Brooklyn. Being a new New Yorker, I have also embraced a new diet of primarily pizza, bagels, and donuts…kidding…kind of. I have only spent about 2 weeks here, but I am really enjoying all of the great food and the never ending things to do. As for the internship, we received our plant list on the first day, and I have been steadily trying to learn the list of over 200 species. This has been overwhelming, but I appreciate the challenge. I find it really great that my job consists of learning and getting familiar with these plants before our field season gets into full swing.

Last week, we did our training in North Carolina with the other Seeds of Success east coast interns. I was saddened to learn we wouldn’t be going to the Chicago workshop, but North Carolina was beautiful, so I can’t complain. We spent three days learning about the history of SOS and the protocols. On our third day, we got to go out into the field, which was a great hands on learning experience. We spent the first half of our day identifying common plants in the area and looking for possible plants to take seed collections from. We focused on grasses, sedges, and rushes, three groups of plants I am not as familiar with.  The second half of our day was spent doing a seed collection as a collective group. We collected seed from the plant, Glyceria striata, and it was a pretty easy seed to collect. So easy, that we apparently collected about ~500,000 seeds, which is a bit over our 15,000-30,000 seed goal, haha. That being said, it was a great experience to finally apply what we had learned the past two days (and be in the field, of course).

My internship has just begun, and it has already been great. I’m looking forward to the rest of this six months full of plant identifyin’, seed collectin’, and NYC livin’.

Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) seed

Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) seed

Identifying Poaceae! This is Dichanthelium scoparium.

Identifying Poaceae! This is Dichanthelium scoparium.

Signing off,

Barbara Garrow

Seeds of Success Intern

Greenbelt Native Plant Center in Staten Island, NYC.