Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As I reflect on this past year, I have a lot to be thankful for. I had a satisfying and fun final semester at university and got to say proper goodbyes to most of my friends before graduation. I am thankful my parents provided me with a car to use during my internship and that everything fit in that car for the drive. I’m thankful that the other Lander interns started a week after me and I was lonely and bold enough to strike up conversations in the grocery store. I’m thankful Lannie was one of those people and that she became a good friend and mentor during my time in Lander. I’m thankful for the CLM Internship not only for the training and the interesting job but for bringing me to Lander, a wonderful town full of wonderful people in a wonderful landscape. I am thankful for the many people in this town who left me with this impression through their kindness and humor. I’m especially thankful for Lara, who worked with me all day, every day then shared an apartment with me, and we still got along well at the end. I’m also thankful for Abby, who was the best roommate I’ve every had, despite not knowing each other beforehand and having to deal with a lack of storage space. I’m thankful again to my parents for currently storing my stuff and being somewhat supportive of me traveling with friends before the holidays. I’m thankful to my friend Ellery and her family for welcoming me into their home for the second Thanksgiving in a row. And I’m thankful for Ellery and Ryan, my college friends who are still willing to go exploring with me.

If you made it through that massive block of text, woohoo! Here’s some pictures!


Lara on our way to Wind River Peak


Bridges at Arches


A porcupine in the Bighorns!


A lovely afternoon in the Bighorns

The internship. Where does one start? Lander? Lander was the first place to feel like home in nearly 5 years. It is the only home I have had to leave with no active plan to return. This is the highest praise I can give a place.

The responsibilities? I didn’t know what to expect coming in, but I was not surprised by any of it. The work was varied and interesting – we got to work on botany, wildlife, range, fuels, and archaeology projects. We learned and followed SOS protocols, including herbarium preparation. We struggled with plant key terms for the first couple of weeks, then became rather practiced at using Dorn. We drove on ridiculous 2-tracks and fought ridiculous winds. We bonded over difficult hours spent on 1 seed/fruit collections and breezed through the 50 seeds/fruit collections. We completed oddball plant and wildlife surveys. We hiked through canyons and up mountains. We spent a week and a half digging holes and planting sagebrush. Sometimes we tried to kill time – that’s how I started to help with the NEPA Environmental Assessment documents. Perhaps the most useful part of the internship was being in the BLM office. I didn’t get to work with everyone, but I got a solid understanding of what everyone did and now I know I would rather perform active research than manage public lands. In all, it was an adventure.

A cool spider in Yellowstone!

A cool spider in Yellowstone!

Waterfalls in the Bighorns

Waterfalls in the Bighorns

Treacherous trail in the Wind River range

Treacherous trail in the Wind River range

Lander, I’ll see you again!


It’s crazy that summer’s over. I don’t mean my internship – that still has several months left – but summer itself. We’ve had weeks of crazed collections and 95+ degree days, but now the highs are in the 80s, it’s begun to rain again, and we only have a handful of species to collect.

Besides filling out herbarium labels and sending off the rest of our seeds, we’re starting to move onto other projects. Some of them are plants-based, such as pre- and post- aspen treatment monitoring and abandoned mine land restoration replanting. Others are wildlife-based, like prairie dog surveys. We’re not really sure exactly what the next couple of months will hold, but there are a lot of cool projects that we’ll get to help out on.

Outside of work, our lives have settled into routine. Evenings generally leave time for one extra activity before dinner, and three-day weekends encourage a lazy day before adventures. I’ve been in a slump for a couple of weeks, but gained some momentum last weekend and went backpacking in the Tetons with other Lander interns. I’m tied to Lander for a couple weeks while housesitting, and I’m hoping to stay out of the lazy funk and do some local climbing and general getting-my-life-together things.

Yep. August.

BLM – Lander Field Office

Day 43

Hour 1 of downtime in the office waiting for the conference call. First time in weeks that                           we’ve been stagnant.

Hour 3 of the post-holiday struggle. Few hours of sleep and an early start means a rough                       morning and the hope of a nap.

Hour 8 of quiet after the fireworks ceased. The entire city went a little crazy, and the                               neighbors put on an impressive display.

Hour 22 since the parade began. Most of it was an all-out war with spectators chucking                         water balloons and paraders flinging candy.

Hour 48 of having no voice. The sore throat of last weeks progressed to a cold, and                               pushing through the weekend cost me the ability to communicate.

Hour 88 since the first guest arrived. Out-of-town CBG interns and friends visited for a                           fun, high-energy weekend.

Hour 111 of being out of cardboard for the press. The many voucher specimens are slow                       to dry without a functioning space heater in the drying cabinet.

Day 43 of loving Lander.

***To some extent, I live day-by-day here. This is a snapshot of my current experience. There is so much more to this internship than is implied here ~ and maybe the next blog post will reflect this ~ or maybe not.

BLM – Lander Field Office.