I’m living in the end times. End times of my internship, that is. First, I want to say that moving to New Mexico to be a CLM intern is THE BEST THING I could have done after graduating. I am so glad that I took a leap of faith and did it. I’ve got just a little over a week left to work, and I’ve already asked if I can come in a few more days as a volunteer because I’m not quite ready to say goodbye. I’ll get a little more herbarium time in and maybe even some final field visits.
This internship has really helped fine tune my botanizing skills. I’m much more confident with grasses and the mega plant family Asteraceae especially. I know that with a couple of good books and some time I can learn the ID of plants anywhere I plop down, which is a spectacular feeling. I’ve also had a nice peek into what working for the BLM might be like, and actually know some of the acronyms! During my time here I was also junior ranger deputized and titled “budding botanist” by my mentor, got to help with National public Lands Day dressed as Seymour Antelope, and was a real member of an ID (interdisciplinary) Team for a ecological assessment.
I liked the SOS work; the mission is admirable and makes for a job you can feel good about. I love the physicality of collecting the seed in the field; this kind of work has always been meditative in a way for me. I felt like a proud seed mama every time we sent a shipment of seed to Bend. “Go, my dear little seeds, for within you lies the promise of a shining future”… I know, I’ m a little nutty but that is how it feels. I would like to see more of what is being done on the ground with some of these native plant materials in terms of grow out and restoration in the future. I also feel that I have a better grasp on the realm of landscape ecology, and looking the environment as more a whole than individual parts. Even though my time was focused on SOS, I am thankful to my mentor, Sheila for encouraging us to get to know other people in our office and experience some of the other fieldwork that the BLM conducts. I’ve enjoyed learning about well pad reclamation and range/riparian monitoring in addition to our botany work. I also feel accomplished in that I wasn’t just a needy intern; I actually helped my mentor get important things done and was able to make some portions of her workload more manageable.
It’s been eye opening to work in Farmington because of the booming oil and gas industry here. Everything else comes second, and all summer I have seen the people that work here struggle and fight to get other causes recognized as important, from archaeologists to recreation and wildlife specialists and of course, botanists. It’s got to be hard to work in an environment like that and I’m not sure if I could do it, but I am glad to know that there are people who do in spite of all the challenges that the oil and gas machine presents.
I will be applying for the CLM internship again in November. There’s a lot more to see and do, and I’m not ready to apply for a permanent position somewhere. I just want to keep gaining a variety of experience. Doing this internship has made me think that academia and returning to grad school may not be for me, but that is still to be seen. I still don’t have a clear path, but I think CLM has helped send me in the right direction, and I’m happy with that. This season proved to me that is truly is important to enjoy and be fascinated by your work, so that is what I intend to do. I really appreciate what Krissa Skogen, Rebecca Johnson, Peggy Olwell, and others have done to make the CLM program possible. I would recommend this internship to anyone interested in land/natural resources management and ecology. Thanks also to Sheila, the “coolest boss ever!”, my coworkers here at FFO BLM, and of course my CLM intern partner in grime (we like to get our hands dirty) Sarah. I’m looking forward to next season! Keep up the good work fellow interns, and love all that you do.
Hannah Goodmuth, Farmington NM.