A brief post this month. As we begin a new year, I decided to create a map of where I’ve been in the last one. Well, OK, I also included a few places I’ve visited so far this year; close enough. So, here it is:
I’ve highlighted the counties of the Las Cruces District Office in red. Each of those blue dots is a place where I’ve taken a picture and recorded what plants were there. About half of those dots are places I visited as part of my CLM internship, the other half are mostly recreational botanizing with a few trips that were part of my old job, before I started my internship, thrown in. I am steadily moving towards my goal of having been just about everywhere in southwestern New Mexico, but it’s a big place and I don’t think I’m going to run out of destinations any time soon. I’ve been here a decade and have still only visited 174 of the LCDO’s 608 grazing allotments, for instance. One of the things I’m really enjoying about working with the BLM is that it gives me a good excuse to go to a lot of places most botanists would never bother with. For instance, wandering around in mesquite shrubland for a few weeks is not very high on the priority list for most botanists, but I enjoy it and now I have more reason to do it. Looking at this map, I’m also remembering that I need to put more labels and legends on maps. Perhaps some people don’t immediately recognize, say, the outline of Otero County. Oh well.
In the coming year, I think I’ll start posting about plant communities and interpretation of aerial imagery. Examining aerial imagery and trying to figure out what you’re looking at is one of the most enjoyable mental puzzles out there, in my opinion, and also on my list of “fun things I get to do more often with the BLM”. Admittedly, I already spent what most would probably consider an unfathomable amount of time staring at maps!
Today is my last day of work as a CLM intern at the Eagle Lake Field Office. I will be returning in February as an official BLM employee to do some GIS work for the Range department. I have to thank the CLM internship program for helping me land this job.
My time as a CLM intern was filled with many great experiences. I gained experience in several fields, such as botany, hydrology, range management, seed collecting, and GIS. I learned what is like to work for a federal agency. Along the way I made several great friends and saw some amazing sights.
One of my favorite experiences was when I got the opportunity to catch sage grouse with the USGS. Protecting sage grouse has become a priority for the BLM, so it was nice to get the chance to directly help by attaching radio collars to sage grouse in order to monitor the populations.
Another great project I worked on involved searching the field office for unknown water sources. Water is a valuable commodity here in the high desert, so it is important to know where it is. I was able to explore the far reaches of the field office searching for springs. I was looking in areas where aerial imagery showed dense, green vegetation. Many of these areas did not have above ground water, but it was always exciting when I found one that did.
A rewarding project I worked on was to build a trail to a favorite climbing spot of mine. Pigeon cliffs is located right outside of Susanville on BLM land, and is little-known climbing wall. I climbed there many times this year, but every time it was a hassle to get to the spot because the trail was in bad shape. I spent a day improving the trail, and it felt good to give back to a place that meant a lot to me. I hope that with the improved trail more people will get to enjoy climbing at Pigeon Cliffs.
I am glad that I am returning to the Eagle Lake Field Office. It is a great place to work. In the meantime, I will be heading back east to visit friends and family. I am really excited to see everyone, as I haven’t been home in eight months.
Thanks again CLM! It has been great!
I was granted an extension that ends January 23rd. I will be back at my field office in Buffalo, Wyoming, on April 1st for a second term. Some of you may be chanting, “serial CLMer” but hear me out.
I was given a habitat restoration project upon my arrival at the BFO. I have completed vegetation surveys for 5 out of 30 historic fires. They would hand this responsibility off to the next intern, but I would like to continue this.
Possibly turn the project into a masters degree, starting in September 2015, and this would be the internship component. My options are either University of Wyoming (BLM already partners with them) or Northwestern (connection with CBG). I already have support from my mentors. This could be really great! Email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Thanks for listening & caring!
Well not much has changed since my last post. I still inspect some small mines here and there and look for GIS to do. I did take a week off and finally manage to go snowboarding, but seeing as how it’s 60 degrees and the snow base is melting, that may have been the only time. I recently put together the administrative record for the Almeda Mine, a superfund site that is in the process of being remediated. Other than that, I continue to look for things to do and hopefully it picks up here in the coming spring months. I’ll leave you with some cool pictures I’ve taken lately.
Morgan – Medford BLM
Snowboarding down the mountain
Upper Table Rock with Mt. McLoughlin in the background
Frozen vernal pools on top of Lower Table Rock
Scribing a bearing tree