Our Last trip out into the field- We got a nice send-off!
The chill is rolling across the Sierra Nevada mountains, reminding locals and interns alike that the desert still has the power to get quite cold. With the coming of winter comes the winds off the mountains and “Rabbit-brush Season”, woe to anyone regardless of allergies or not. Many of the native forbs and grasses are preparing to bed down for the coming winter. Still now isn’t the time for relaxation and staying indoor working on reports and administrative duties.
We are currently developing the next phase of the Seeds of Success Program (S.O.S.), the development of Plant Development Areas (PDAs). Most interns are gone by this time but, the luck and fortune of being a ‘late-breaking position has granted me a wholly unique and amazing opportunity to witness and be apart of the phase that comes after collection.
Planning out the plots for a forbs study!
Ready, Set, Plant! Finally marked out our plots
We had lots of help, from everyone at the office! USFS, Fire crews, Arizona Univerisity, and even our fellow interns for the Hydrology team. Who wouldn’t on such a nice and perfect day!
Two weeks of hard work has resulted in the creation of four research plots for our partners, and we will continue perhaps for another two weeks to get everything settled. It does come with its challenges, like the issues of hydrophobic soil (not so good for baby forbs) and predation by the rabbits and rodent that live in the sagebrush. However, it has been a time in which everyone can escape the office and enjoy the few warm days left to offer.
The month of August was both productive and fascinating. While we were busy doing seed collections we had the opportunity for exploring the land and seeing some amazing sites, as well as collaboration.
We worked with our partners in the Rocky Mountain Research Institute (RMRI) conducting vegetation surveys in many of the Northern reaches of Nevada. With their help, we formulated and tested vegetation surveys that will be carried into the future to affect the management of both BLM and USFS properties
We had the opportunity to learn and exchange knowledge with our partners as well as enjoy working with people who share a similar passion. After our work with them was done we took the time to explore our own districts. There is always a lot of ground to cover in such a big state. We had much success, and have had the opportunity to meet fellow botanists and interns in the ‘wild’.
An adventure of self-discovery and the path of Botany….
I graduate from my university as a student of Wildlife Conservation Biology, from the University of New Hampshire. I traveled into the west in search of working with invasive species, primarily plants. It was either through luck or good fortune. I met Dirk Netz, the botanist for the state of Nevada. Along with Nicole Spehn, we are entering an amazing world of Western Botany.
The goal of Dirk Netz, Jessica Kindred, Great Basin Insitute, Desert Research Institute, Burea of Land Management, and many more is to create a seed back that is viable in response to increase fire frequency and intensity. While grasses are well known and critical to the success of fire restoration, the perennial and annual forbs are also critical to the success of restoration.
Our first week opened the door to the amazing world to the world of Western Botany. We had the opportunity to travel into the Humbolt-Toyabie National Forest’s Dog Valley for hands-on experience in the identification of species critical to the ‘Seeds of Success Program’, other native grasses and forbs, and familiarize ourselves with the terrain and landscape.
Our second week we were able to team up with fellow interns from Great Basin Insistute, the volunteer group I worked with prior, and Jess Kindred, the leader for the program on the BLM side. With her and her team we were able to familiarize ourselves with the SOS program in-field. Our search lead us to Contact a small mining town in search of Thurber’s Needle Grass, a species of interest for the SOS program. We also learned how to collect tissue sample for plants of interest to determine possible speciation and regionality differences.
For our next week, we had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of people from both The Nature Conservancy and Desert Research Insitute. We were able to learn about programs beyond the SOS Program. We helped collaborate on assessment protocol on Nevada’s riparian habitat. This habitat is a relative unknown primarily because of few known locations, presence/absence, and due to Nevada’s ephemeral. However because of Nevada’s l, the landscape there are a wide and varied types of riparian habitats that exiist (saltwater, hotsprings, coldwater).
This week we are heading out to examine the success of our burned area reseedings. While this is an entirely new field for me I am discovering that it is a field that I am loving more and more. I cannot wait to continue to learn feeding and catering to my inner botanist.