It’s True, Gotta Love What You Do

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.

Sunny even became a better botanist this summer!

Sunny even became a better botanist this summer!

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.

A typical collection site

A typical collection site

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.

Seymour Antelope!

Seymour Antelope!


Greetings fellow interns,

Things are finally beginning to green up again here in the Northern California Central Valley.  This has come to be one of my favorite times of the year here.  Being originally from the Midwest, I am accustomed to seeing dry, dormant, dying vegetation in the fall as plants prepare for a cold hard winter, but here the fall season brings moisture and precipitation to a system that has been dry and dormant throughout the mid and late summer.  It makes for a lovely green fall full of re-awakening plant life.  Judging by my inability to pass air through my nasal passages, I am convinced the rejuvenated plants are also contributing to an increased pollen count.  You take the good with the bad!

Many exciting things are currently happening at the Preserve.  Birds have begun showing up in numbers and we are once again participating in bi-weekly waterfowl counts.  Every year the Cosumnes River Preserve supports tens of thousands of migratory birds utilizing the Pacific Flyway.  With the extremity of the drought over the last several years, many historically wet areas do not have water this year, and we are expecting above average bird numbers.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of developing a mountain lion study at the Preserve.  The pilot study will involve trapping and radio collaring cats to better understand how and why they are using the Preserve as habitat.  Trapping is scheduled to being this winter. The cats are definitely present at the Preserve, but they are such cryptic animals that their life histories here are quite mysterious.   I am very eager to read up on the findings of this study.

The Preserve is also working on the development of a partnership with the Center for Land Based Learning through their Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Habitat Restoration Program.  This program gets California school students directly involved in native habitat restoration projects through  hands-on field work days at various sites throughout the Sacramento Valley.  As a significant portion of my responsibilities at the Preserve include managing habitat restoration projects, I think this will be an excellent opportunity to expand our projects while educating students and having a good time!

Lucky for me, I have also had the opportunity to participate in a few SOS seed collections throughout the late summer and early fall months.  I love being able to get out in the field to explore, monitor plant populations, and collect seed!  I was also joined by fellow SOS intern Julie Wynia, and it is always great to be able to socialize and collect with other folks from the CLM program.  We reached our 2014 BLM collection targets for the Mother Lode Field Office, and have already begun collecting for the 2015 fiscal year.  Hope your fall season has been going equally as enjoyably as mine has-



Protect the Ancients

This past week I had the opportunity with a friend from work to go to Death Valley National Park. This is a truly amazing place and the difference in topography and scenery around the park is quite an impressive feat in the natural world. We went to Eureka Dunes in the northern portion of the park where there are several endemic species to dunes: Oenothera californica ssp. eurekensis and Astragalus lentiginosus var. micrans. These particular dunes are the ones endearingly called “The Singing Dunes.” It was a very special place to be and see the wondrous landscape of Larraea tridentata, Echinocactus polycephalus, Opuntia basilaris, Eucnide urens and many other species of desert flora.

We also traveled to Mesquite Springs in the lower part of the park and hiked the beautiful Telescope Peak, which is over 11,000′. The following day we searched for a plant that Rebecca had vehemently sought after and eventually we found it in Surprise Canyon out of Panamint Valley. It was an amazing plant, Annulocaulis annulatus, and many of the other species of flora in the canyon were quite interesting. Particularly, the shrub Peucephyllum schottii (Desert Pygmy Cedar), which is found in the Asteraceae family. I have never seen a shrub in the Asteraceae that captivated me with amazement like this particular plant did. We left the park that night and headed to Lone Pine, CA where we enjoyed a good meal at the Mt. Whitney Restaurant.

The greatest part of the trip for me was most assuredly the chance to walk amongst the ancient Bristlecone Pines (Pinus longaeva). It has always been a dream of mine to see these splendid specimens gnarled and contorted on the dry slopes of the White Mountains in CA. A tree that quite literally has weathered the toughest storms, winds and cold for millenia. Feeling the bark and seeing the needles (they stay on the tree for 35-40 years before dropping) closely bundled on the branches, the sap laden cones and knowing that these trees have stood for thousands of years was a humbling experience considering that our own lifetimes are like a blade of grass that springs up and withers away the next day. What a thought!

This was a trip I will not soon forget and it may well be my last trip here in the vicinity of Carson City.

Consider the wonders around you my friends,


Final Post Provo Shrub Sciences Laboratory

Hello everyone, this is my last post at the CLM blog. First of all, I am going to summarize our research during my internship at the Provo Shrub Sciences Laboratory. The first month and a half, we were exploring the technical details of the portable e-nose device and smell theory. Followed by that, we standardized the e-nose methodology using known Big Sagebrush volatiles to establish the smell parameters for our experiments, and then we analyzed Big Sagebrush smell. While we were working on our lab experiments, we were also working in the field collecting phenology data for different Big Sagebrush populations at the common gardens in Utah. Also we did several field trips at different locations of Utah and Idaho to collect different samples of wild Big Sagebrush, additionally we received samples from different common gardens of Idaho. We analyzed ploidy and smell of known and wild populations at the lab, looking to differentiate between subspecies. We presented our first results in March 2014, at the Great Basin Native Plant Project Annual Meeting, in Boise Idaho. During the Spring and Summer we were collecting smell and volatile compounds at common gardens and in lab, to determine smell patterns differences between Big Sagebrush populations in different environments and seasons. In addition during the summer we were working in seed experiments at the lab, looking to differentiate between Big Sagebrush subspecies. Our results were presented at the SER Northwest & Great Basin Regional Conference, in Redmond Oregon. We are hoping to complete two papers with our data.

When I first started at the Shrub Lab I did not have much experience in the United States. Now that I am completing my internship with CLM, I feel much better prepared for graduate school in the United States. During my internship, I have had the opportunity to make new friends at the Provo Shrub Lab, and I have to say that it is a nice place to work, with very interesting people. I want to say thank you to my mentor for all the support, and the things that he taught me, and for encouraging me to continue exploring new things. Also I want to say thank you to Krissa, Wesley and Rebecca for all the support, I really appreciate it.

DSCF7533 DSCF6636

Thank you CLM and Provo Shrub Sciences Laboratory


Provo, UT

USDA-Forest Service RMRS, Shrub Sciences Laboratory

Re-seeding In Burnt Lands

With the collecting season rapidly coming to an end, our duties have begun to shift, but still maintain seamless relevance with our prior work. Southern Oregon was hit hard this year with some large forest fires that completely torched some BLM lands.  Our seed collecting work early this season has now come full circle as a result of reseeding projects in these burnt forests and meadows.  The seed we are using was collecting in past years but former CLM interns, and was sent to a number of different farms around the Pacific Northwest and grown out to increase the number of poundage.  It is these seeds, of the same ecoregion, that we are using to repopulate the native grasses and forbs.  I will be spending this week and next onsite, where the Oregon Gulch fired occurred, with 8 members from a community justice crew.  We have already covered roughly 300 acres and will be covering much more in the days to come.