Since my last post I have been working on wrapping up the capstone project of my summer. Over the past couple months I have been working on the prepping for large scale Wyoming Big Sagebrush Seed collection. It started with over 14 hours of GIS work to isolate potential sites for seed collection. I spent the months of September and October field checking the sites and monitoring the phenology of the sagebrush. Then, finally, when November rolled around it was time for collection. With the help of the two other interns and the Fuels crew we collected a grand total of 235 pounds of raw sagebrush seed! It was amazing to see the project from start to finish, and it was a great end to my Seeds of Success work.
We also had the chance to help with some plantings along the Little Wood River. First, we worked with Blaine County’s 7th and 8th graders to plant willow cuttings along the river for a National Public Lands Day project. It was great to see how excited the students got about getting outside and planting. We then came back a couple weeks later with the Fuels crews in our district and planted river birch in the same area.
At the end of October we decided to do a Halloween themed final exploration into the White Cloud Mountains. We did a 6 mile hike to Boulder City, a ghost town. At one point Boulder city was a bustling mining town with several cabins, a saloon, several mines, and several mills. We weren’t totally prepared for the fact that there was knee deep snow at the old mine town, but it added to adventure. We rounded out our Halloween theme by hiking last mile on the way back in the dark. And we finished with a nice dinner in Ketchum to celebrate all the adventures we had this summer.
I’m having a hard time digesting the fact that 6 months have passed since I first arrived in south-central Idaho. It has been a whirlwind half a year during which I have moved twice, lived with 8 different people, visited more than 6 national parks, and had the chance to explore and work with some amazing people. This internship has been a great opportunity to get my feet under me after graduating, and has helped me figure out what I need to do next. I will be making the trek back to Virginia at the end of this week, and will be putting in my applications for a couple M.S. programs. At the moment it looks like my next step will be to start a thesis in late spring, early summer. All of the skills I have gained and the projects I have worked on this summer are what made it possible for me to gain the attention of potential advisers. If I had to do it over again, I would in a heartbeat.
My parting advice to any future interns is to get out and explore the area you are in while you can because time will go by a lot faster then you think. If you are collecting seeds find a good podcast or two. Not only does it make the time pass quicker, but you’ll also find that it makes you more productive. Don’t be scared to take on a project that seems like it’s beyond your skill, you’ll be surprised at what you are really capable off.
And if you are lucky enough to end up in Shoshone, Idaho then you are lucky enough.
- Abby Goszka, Shoshone Field Office, BLM