Memoirs of a CLM Intern–Part 9: Beauty

In addition to the valuable career experience gained through the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Conservation and Land Management (CLM) Internship program, there are plenty of good times to be had as a CLM intern! One of the greatest perks of a career in conservation and land management is having an office in the great outdoors. Not only is this work environment essentially void of stress, it often contributes to relieving any stress that one may have. And how can one end a day’s work in the field without some sense of awe and inspiration garnered from natural aesthetics? From the grand landscapes to the minute details of creation, there is much beauty for the eye to behold.

PHOTOGRAPHY. Not only is photography beneficial for qualitative monitoring (photo points), there are countless landscapes, habitats, and wildlife (animal and plant) subjects to photograph when working in the field. Sometimes the photos we take are used to produce education and outreach materials. All my other blog posts (as well as the blog posts of other CLM interns) show a plethora of photos that attest to this. As someone who enjoys photography as a hobby, some days I have to practice restraint!

A volunteer assisting with photo point monitoring of the response of vegetation after fuels treatment

FLOWERING PLANTS. Intriguing. Stunning. Charming. Lovely. Sometimes the best response to nature’s beauty is a silent pause of deep awe and genuine appreciation.

White fairy-lantern (Calochortus albus)

Creeping sage (Salvia sonomensis)…pleasant scents add to the pleasure of field work

Shooting stars (Dodecatheon sp.)

Purple lupines and yellow asters in the spring

Yellow star tulip (Calochortus monophyllus)

Blue flax (Linum lewisii)

Common soaproot (Chlorogalum pomeridianum)

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja sp.)

Penstemon (Penstemon sp.)

Monkeyflower (Mimulus sp.)

Western blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)

Elegant clarkia (Clarkia unguiculata)

Harvest brodiaea (Brodiaea elegans)

Sierra fawn lily (Erythronium multiscapideum) dancing in a meadow under the sun

LANDSCAPES & HABITATS. Grandeur. Breath-taking. Magnificent. The big picture. Sometimes nature is appreciated more from a distant standpoint than amidst it.

Morning-glory Hill in the Pine Hill Preserve

View of Folsom Lake from atop Morning-glory Hill in the Pine Hill Preserve

View of snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains from the top of Morning-glory Hill in the Pine Hill Preserve

View of snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains from atop Pine Hill in the Pine Hill Preserve

Fog in the foothills, view from Pine Hill looking toward the Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Red Hills (left foreground) and storm clouds building over the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Stream flowing in spring through the Red Hills ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern)

South Fork American River along the Dave Moore Nature Area

South Fork American River running through the Pine Hill Preserve; gray oaks & chaparral shrubs cover the canyon slopes

Golden grasslands and rust-colored chaparral covering the foothill slopes (try to ignore the yellow star thistle in the foreground)

Golden foothills: lovely from a distance but terribly disconcerting to see the nonnative annuals when walking through them

Spring colors of the chaparral in Pine Hill Preserve