The last few weeks have been full of many endings and culminations for us here at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. We had our final week out in the field, visited the coasts of Maryland and Virginia, and got to see some amazing landscapes. Though it was cloudy and threatening to rain, both of our final sites, Blackwater NWR and Chincoteague NWR, proved to be beautiful:
Our visit to Chincoteague NWR culminated in an awesome show by the wild ponies there too! While collecting Smilax rotundifolia, we got an up-close-and-personal encounter with a group of wild ponies that came to get a drink of freshwater at a vernal pool next to the Smilax briers. Check out a video that we took of these guys: Wild Ponies!
We also got lucky enough to make a collection of Aristida tuberculosa, seaside threeawn, at Chincoteague…our first collection of it this season! It’s got absolutely beautiful seeds:
On another note, my 5-year-old hiking boots finally bit the dust. These boots have roamed many a landscape and have helped me perform tons of field work over the last 5 years. I first wore them as a Student Conservation Association high school crew member working in the Chicago forest preserves. It is quite a good ending for them to have died while working as a CLM intern. I can truly say that they have been well worn!
Sadly, my minivan also recently broke down. However, during the course of this internship, she got to take me and my fellow interns on many trips to the North Carolina outer banks!
Today and tomorrow are our final days in the office. We’re finishing up the cleaning of our last seed collections and shipping them to the Cape May Plant Materials Center. This morning, we’re hanging out in a back office in the NCBG Totten Center, while the Horticulture Program has a meeting. It feels like kindergarten again: hanging out on carpeted floors playing with pine cones!
This internship has been an amazing experience for me. I moved to North Carolina about a year ago, and thanks to this internship, I really feel like it has become my home. I now know so much about southeastern flora and have gotten to explore both the Piedmont and North Carolina coast. At the beginning of the summer, I was most familiar with invasive plants and native prairie plants of the Midwest (I’m from Chicago, IL originally). Today, I know about 100 species of native southeastern grasses, trees, and flowers, and I’m still learning more every day! I feel proud to say that we made 234 seed collections this season, all of which will be used to restore coastal environments through projects for the Hurricane Sandy Mitigation Fund. Thanks, CLM Internship, for this amazing experience!
All the best,
North Carolina Botanical Garden
CLM Intern 2015