February to March

A lot of last week was spent preparing to take over greenhouse management from Alex (Forest Service Biotech). I was reading the greenhouse notebook, books on nursery management and pest disease, and various other articles. I met with Mary, a Forest Service Biotech who had formerly managed the greenhouse, and Alex who managed the greenhouse up until last week. I learned how to sterilize old soil, mix new soil, treat a couple of common pests, and the daily and monthly routine for completing greenhouse tasks. As I’ve been spending more time in the greenhouse, I’m noticing more, especially the pests.

Right now I am working to treat 200 manzanitas for scale. Scale is a common insect pest on many trees and shrubs. Scale insects form a waxy, protective coating and remain in one place on a plant for most of their lives. When they first hatch they crawl away from the mother to find a new spot and then lose their legs. Only males will emerge in a winged form later on to mate with immobile females. The scale feed on the plant and damage includes water stress. Our manzanita are heavily infested and the leaves are quite yellow and brittle. The treatment for scale is simply to scrape the little buggers off the plant. Since they don’t have legs they can’t come back. This I am patiently doing using an old toothbrush.


Scale on Manzanita.

Other pests we deal with in the greenhouse include aphids, gnats, and powdery mildew. There is also a mysterious problem with some of our terragon, which have small, round, black spots over the leaves. These terragon plants are quite old and have filled their pots to the bottoms with roots – apparently from what I have read this can decrease the ability of a plant to defend itself. I have also seen one more unknown pest, which, like scale, appears to be immobile on Rabbitbrush, but is brown in color. If anyone knows what these might be, please comment!


Aphids on Sandberg Bluegrass.

Captured gnats.


Mysterious Terragon affliction.


Unknown, immobile pest on Rabbitbrush.


I have continued to go in the field for restoration site monitoring, HMP monitoring, and to plant with the Americorps crews. This week I learned to build T-post fence, which is A LOT OF FUN. I learned how to plan a fence, brace the ends using Wedge-Loc or wire, use a fencing tool, pound the posts, and string the wire under the tutelage of Hannah (Southern California Mountains Foundation Employee). I can’t wait to build another!


Completed fence.


Post pounding to brace a corner.

Otherwise, the weather is getting very nice here. Since daylight savings we have light much longer in the evening, and I have been using the extra light to run along the perimeter of Big Bear Lake. We had (probably) our last snow this past Friday, and I was fortunate to be able to enjoy the rain, snow, and winds first hand as I walked home from the grocery store. By morning we had a nice coating, but it quickly melted. As always, I am working on my plant ID, reading, going to yoga classes, and recently started a knitting project.

Very cool fungi in the greenhouse.

Very cool fungi in the greenhouse.

San Bernardino National Forest
Fawnskin, CA

Beginnings Awash in Rain: First Post from Arcata, CA

I rode north from Santa Cruz in my trusty red Subaru (which is very happy to be back in California after two months of riding around the southern states), windows down in the cold and damp air — so known and yet so new. A few frantic days of house-hunting and floor-sleeping yielded a wonderful small hut for my latest chapter — a CLM internship in Arcata, California working as a botanist for the Bureau of Land Management for the next 7 months. I am already in my second week; reeling as we do from the sidelong speed of living life. I must admit, it has been the most fully “adult” week of my sub-adult life! Happily transitioning into a new chapter, new place, new pretenses for my between undergraduate and graduate school life.

Many habitats have greeted me thus far, further intensifying my pleasure in residing and working in the heart of diversity in the California Floristic Province (that’s right, Northern California has the highest regional diversity in the state!). The dense, resplendent Redwood forest, is quite different than the Redwood forest I came to know near the southern extent of its range in Santa Cruz, CA (where I graduated in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in December). In the north, the charismatic Sequoia sempervirens mixes with several species from the Cascades, including snowflake-foliaged Grand Fir (Abies grandis) and the lustrous grey flake-barked Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis). Groves of Yellow Skunk-Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) cover the low wet forest ravines with long, broad leaves and a warm animal musk. Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) flowering and shedding ruby petals in the babbling draws! Wakerobin (Trillium ovatum ssp. ovatum) blooming white in every shady nook and cranny!

To make things even more overwhelming, spring is springing — not the bloom and bust sort of spring many Californians are used to, but a slowly unfolding sort of spring driven by warm oceans, a warming world and locally, a higher latitude than I have ever lived at! (Pacific Wren and Ruby-crowned Kinglets have already begun singing in my ears and outside my window at home.)

I digress… The past week and a half have been a diverse mix of duties, reflecting the diverse management issues and responsibilities of the Arcata BLM Field Office. I attended a two-day climate change adaptation workshop (directed by EcoAdapt), have been getting oriented and trained, began my primary project for the next months, drove to the King Range to input invasive plant GPS data and judged the Humboldt County Science Fair! My primary work in the coming weeks will be monitoring the dune mat plant communities along the Humboldt coast line, of which the Humboldt Bay hosts the longest continuous stretch in the state. My work out there includes identifying all plant species, discerning cover densities and paying close attention to two federally listed dune plants — the Humboldt Bay Wallflower (Erysimum menziesii subsp. eurekense) and Beach Layia (Layia carnosa). The dune system is a truly beautiful and rare habitat type — salt spray, intense north coast wind, powerful sun, constantly shifting sand. One cannot help but stand in awe of these humble plants (particularly in a year like this, when the entire dune leaps with flowers). Paradoxically, these incredibly well-adapted plants exist within a fragile matrix — a habitat that is in many locations inhospitable to native species due to invasions of European Beach Grass (Ammophila arenaria) and Iceplant (Carpobrotus edulis and C.chilensis).

Samoa Dunes, Transect #3!

Samoa Dunes, Transect #3, a classic example of North Coast Dune Mat habitat.

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Federally endangered plant #1: Erysimum menziesii subsp. eurekense. Growing characteristically close to Artemisia pycnocephala, an indicator species.

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Federally endangered plant #2: Layia carnosa. Many more rosettes in the background!

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Spring? The wonderful Sanicula artopoides, the Footsteps of Spring.

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Close-up (Iphone photo through a hand lens) of Platystemon californicus — Cream Cups.

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Claytonia exigua ssp. exigua


The incredible Dune Silver Bee (Habropoda miserabilis), perhaps the most important dune pollinator, doing what it does on Humboldt Bay Wallflower.

Anyways….back to the dunes! Thanks for reading!

Kaleb Goff

Arcata BLM Field Office

Workhorse Species and the Superbloom

Much of my time over the past month has been devoted to the development of a document tentatively titled “Work Horse Species for the Restoration of Disturbed Lands and Pollinator Habitat.” I bet you’re at the edge of your seat! What even is a work horse species? Why combine disturbed lands and pollinators? Well…

Long before I arrived, restoration staff started on a simpler report intended to recommend which native plant species to use in revegetation efforts across the forest. The SBNF covers so much ground and so many different varieties of habitat that it’s important to set some rules. This way we ensure plants added to restoration sites are adapted to survive local conditions and contribute to healthy, resilient ecosystems. These hardy, recommended plants are dubbed “workhorse species.”

Then, in May 2015 the White House released their “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.” The Forest Service Region 5 (California) also generated a Pollinator Best Management Practices report. Together, these directives urge Federal land managers like the SBNF restoration team to support the health of pollinator populations in response to the massive honeybee, monarch butterfly, and other pollinator population crashes that have occurred over the past few decades. Considering these bugs are responsible for the reproduction of around 80% of the world’s flowering plants, including most of our food crops, this should concern us all.

Basically, whenever a restoration project is planned on the forest we want pollinator habitat to be a primary consideration. Fortunately, pollinator habitat enhancement and disturbed lands restoration are complementary activities! Several of the workhorse species used in restoration are already favored by pollinators. Eriogonum, Penstemon, and Encelia, for example. Our program is identifying additional species important to pollinators as sources of nectar and larvae food. Milkweed, aka Asclepias, is one, which I discussed in my last post.

Besides writing, I’ve been enjoying lots of time in the field. A few weeks ago I helped plant a rather dramatic restoration site known as the Summit Staging Area—dramatic for the view of the San Gabriel Mountains as well as the method of restoration.


This lot had been used as a “staging area” where off highway vehicle (OHV) riders could unload their quads, dirtbikes, etc. and get ready to ride the trails. Sadly, many riders decided to drive off the footprint of the staging area and onto the hillside, running over quality habitat. To prevent this continued degradation, the restoration program called for the placement of boulders around the perimeter of the lot and “chunking” of the damaged area outside. Chunking involves the creation of hills and dips over the ground making it essentially impossible for OHV riders to drive across. According to staff, the contractors chunked this site considerably more than the norm with taller hills and deeper dips.

So, we knocked those tall hills down a peg! We used the excess soil to fill the dips and create a perfect bed for the planting of native Eriogonum, Ericameria, and Malacothamnus from our greenhouse.

Outside of work, in mid-February, I took advantage of a three-day weekend to explore Death Valley. I couldn’t have accidentally picked a more super time, for the national park was experiencing a super bloom. There is only one big bloom like this every decade or so. Thanks, El Nino. I took literally hundreds of photos of the wildflowers. The desert is colorful, immense, and humbling.

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I take the GRE next weekend. Too bad they care more about geometry and vocabulary than plant ID. Wish me luck!

Brandon Drucker

Mountaintop Ranger Station
San Bernardino National Forest
Fawnskin, California

You can’t please everybody!


A view up our site, Hot Springs Mountain


Though it’s hard to tell, this pictures shows a wide ditch that opened after a landslide. It will likely facilitate future landslides if not dealt with.

One of our main focuses this week was a restoration site just outside Carson City. The area has seen a number of erosion events in recent years that have caused serious property damage in the nearby residential area. Our goal here is to revegetate the disturbed areas with the hopes of lessening the severity of future landslides.


We seeded two different plants, rubber rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) and fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens). Both of these plants occur commonly in the sagebrush scrub community that is typical around here. You may be wondering why we chose these plants instead of the most common plant in sagebrush scrub — which is sagebrush — and we have good reason for this choice. Both rubber rabbitbrush and fourwing saltbush are part of the early successional community; sagebrush is not. This means that rabbitbrush and saltbush are better at colonizing disturbed areas. This is especially important for our project, because we need plants that will be able to establish a root system quickly and stabilize the soil. Additionally, with any restoration project, if you’re trying to reestablish the native plant community, you increase your chances by following nature’s lead. By seeding rabbitbrush and saltbush, we are mimicking the order in which plants would recolonize the area. Hopefully, this will allow the plant community on these disturbed areas to most efficiently develop and blend into the current plant community.


A terrible picture of me using that red contraption in the bottom right corner to spread fourwing saltbush seed


A newly-seeded trail

While in the field, we were approached by a few people who lived in the area and were curious about what we were doing. The first person was interested in the plants we were seeding, stating she would need to look them up later, and was just happy to see us out there doing something to help. However, we were approached by a couple people a bit later, and when we told them what we were seeding, they seemed pretty disappointed and informed us that rabbitbrush causes a lot of people to have allergies. One person stated, “I’d understand sagebrush, but rabbitbrush is just a nuisance.” Caught off guard by this reaction, I apologized about their allergies as they walked away. In my head, I thought about the importance of using rabbitbrush over sagebrush and how the amount of rabbitbrush we’re adding would be insignificant to the amount already present. Afraid to come across as argumentative, I didn’t voice these thoughts and may have missed a chance to inform some people.
Despite the uncomfortable situation, this showed me such a succinct example of something we are told so often, that you can’t please everybody. Even with a project that seems so benign, seeding areas to help stop landslides into people’s houses, there are still ways to disappoint people. This challenge of land management is something I hope to learn to better navigate. Hopefully, if I’m approached in the future by a member of the public who doesn’t agree with the work we’re doing, I can start a friendly conversation with them, not necessarily so that they agree with me, just so they can better understand why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Getting Started in Fairbanks

How and where do I begin? At the beginning I suppose.

I find myself extremely fortunate to be here in Alaska. It is a beautiful and very mild winter this year, which allows us to get a lot more time outside and to stave off the cabin fever. Of course it’s difficult to stay indoors when you don’t have to be, regardless of what the weather has in store, but the difference this year is you can get away with fewer layers and thus be able to move your limbs freely.
The sunlight is gradually returning (about 6 minutes a day), while at night the aurora borealis still, quite visibly, undulates with its neon greens across the sky which makes this time of year kind of “magical”.

aurora in ak


I was very recently hired and amidst the blur of acronyms, paperwork, training etc. it’s difficult to pin down any one thing to talk about as far as the position goes. Two things worth mentioning are: I have met some very kind and helpful people who have each gone out of their way to welcome me. And the wildlife position I was hired for sounds very interesting! The general picture for the position focuses on Dall sheep usage of natural mineral licks and all the fun details associated with their visitations to these sites.
My next blog will definitely contain more information about the project as I increase my knowledge and exposure to well, everything I can get my hands on.
until then…….

T Hill

BLM – Central Yukon Field Office

Fairbanks, Alaska

Focusing In….

Hello again from the north.
Like any good Midwesterner (current or former) I must talk about the weather at some point.
It has been, like in so many places, unseasonably warm. There is plenty of snow still on the ground and though the temps rarely rise above freezing, many Alskans are wearing short sleeve shirts while waiting for spring to officially arrive.
Training is still the primary focus of my work but at least now it is beginning to hone in on the specific needs of my position. Aviation training this week followed soon by things like bear safety and the like.
One step at a time towards the fun stuff! Until next time!
-T Hill
CYFO BLM Fairbanks, AK

Unauthorized Trails and Asclepias


Time flies when you’re an intern! Apparently.

A month has passed since I began work with the San Bernardino National Forest. The snow melted. Then it snowed again. Somewhere in between things picked up for us.

The SBNF restoration staff tackle an incredible number of responsibilities, and we’ve been busy learning how projects are carried out and prioritized on what is, apparently, one of the most heavily utilized patches of public land in the country. Every weekend the (human) population explodes in Big Bear. Thousands come from all over southern California to snowboard, ski, hike, climb, fish, and drive through the mud. While most forest users treat the area with respect, others do not, and thus restoration is necessary.

One of the most common and damaging illegal practices on the forest is the creation of unauthorized off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails. Many miles of legal “green sticker” routes already traverse the forest. I’ve driven on them. They’re beautiful. They climb stunning ridgelines and cross desert streams. The Forest Service and partnering organization the Southern California Mountains Foundation (SCMF) has worked to carefully designate and manage these routes. But, instead of sticking to them, some users drive off and pass into wilderness. Where one ATV, dirt bike, or jeep goes, others are bound to follow. Before long, there are miles and miles of crushed native plants and otherwise damaged habitat. In the desert where plant growth is incredibly slow and other pressures abound, these ecosystems could take extreme lengths of time to naturally recover. Indeed, they may never return to a previous state on their own.


The SBNF restoration program receives funding from the state of California to close off unauthorized trails and attempt revegetation. Following closure, restoration sites require years of monitoring to ensure drivers stay away and plants grow in properly. The program utilizes a small number of staff and volunteers to cover a lot of ground. It’s interesting to hear which methods of closure work depending on locations and varieties of use. For example, heavier cable fences are used to cut off high traffic routes, while T-post fences or even scattered tree branches are sufficient on smaller paths. Some unauthorized trails are allowed to passively revegetate, while others are seeded and others still planted with native plants grown in our greenhouse. Seed is always collected from plants already occurring nearby. In many cases, these methods have proven remarkably successful.

In the future, many of the plants in our restoration greenhouse will be grown with the dual purpose of promoting the health of pollinating insects! The program recently received funding for the enhancement of pollinator habitat, which is a subject I’m very much interested in and also one of the reasons I was so excited to join the team here. This work is supported by the National Pollinator Strategy–organized and endorsed by the White House! It is also supported by regional Forest Service best management practice guidelines. I’m happy to see pollinators recognized as valuable on these significant governmental levels! A few weeks back we started planting a few hundred milkweed seeds. Milkweeds, of course, are the primary food source for monarch butterfly larvae. Three local species were planted in small pots and “flats”: Asclepias californica, A. fascicularis, and A. eriocarpa. Thousands more are to be planted in the coming weeks.


Speaking of plants and pollinators, I’ve also started work on a major update of a restoration document intended to guide the revegetation of disturbed sites within the various “vegetation communities” of the SBNF. This “work horse” species document describes the forest’s many varied habitats, the expertly recommended “work horse” species to be utilized in their recovery, and the specific value of these species to pollinators. Pretty cool!


I’m very much looking forward to growing more familiar with these unique vegetation communities and pollinator ecology in general. I’m also excited to see the Asclepias seedlings grow up. One day they’ll be Asclepias adults, and I’m hopeful to see a few out-planted before the end of my internship. Finally, outside of work, I’m taking every opportunity to explore my surroundings in southern California. Visits to Joshua Tree NP, Death Valley, the Salton Sea, Los Angeles, and San Diego are on the horizon!

Note: I would like to apologize to the good people of the Inland Empire for misspelling San Bernardino three times in my previous post.  That semi-silent R threw me for a loop. Won’t happen again!

Brandon Drucker

Mountaintop Ranger District
San BernaRdino National Forest
Fawnskin, California



Two Years an Intern: Now On to Ice Cream

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Cattle Point Lighthouse part of the San Juan Islands National Monument

Hello CLM folks! I hope this message finds you well and warm wherever you may be. This is my final post as a CLM intern (at least in the foreseeable future, never say never). For the last two years, I have worked for the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington State. It has been a deeply rewarding experience, one that has allowed me to learn and grow more than I could ever imagine.


Vegetation Monitoring at Point Colville, Lopez Island, San Juan Island National Monument

During my time there, I’ve handled three projects for the monument: creating baseline vegetation monitoring system, starting a Seeds of Success program, and producing a map characterizing vegetative communities.  My mentors have always given me a great deal of independence in my work.  This opportunity for initiative has allowed me to put all my creativity and passion into projects to achieve more than expected. I have collaborated with other community organizations and land managers, presented in meetings, taught science and monitoring to kids, and tabled at many events to teach the public about the importance of our native plant community and the Seeds of Success program.


Eriophyllum lanatum, a common coastal prairie species, was collected for SOS in summer 2015

I was constantly learning during the last two years. From familiarizing myself with area botany to figuring how to communicate science to kids without boring them half to sleep, each day gave me something to think about. During my first year, I studied various BLM monitoring strategies, GIS and other data standards, and available plant related GIS datasets.  My second year, I learned all about Seeds of Success.  I worked with other land managers, met potential growers, created a target plant lists, and planned the collection season.  I even had my own intern to help me collect seed.  My second year taught me some invaluable lessons about communication, time management, partnership, and botany.

After my SOS summer, I moved to Seattle and started working remotely to create a vegetation map for the monument.  The map used information that I collected in my first season to give an accurate picture of plant communities on its 970 acres for the monument’s resource management plan.  It also allowed me to see a project to its completion, which, I gotta say, is very satisfying.  Working from home created its own challenges however.  I had to perfect my phone meeting, phone call, and email skills.  It also forced me adopt a higher level of organization to get all tasks done in a timely manner.


Sisyrinchium angustifolium collected for SOS 2015

Of course, CLM internships are not only about the work you accomplish but the experiences you have along the way.  Thanks to my mentor and monument manager, I have worked with specialists throughout the Oregon/Washington BLM and the San Juan Islands community.  I have met all manner of plant and wildlife folks as well as facilitation, recreation, outreach, management, and GIS gurus.  I’ve gotten to travel a lot, within Washington and in other states.   My favorite trip was to New Mexico for the 2015 National Native Seeds Conference.  The dozens of talks and workshops filled my brain to bursting with info and inspiration. I got to meet so many plant passionate people, an experience that cemented my love of plant science and the plant folk.


Lomatium nudicale, an important forage species for the federally listed Island Marble Butterfly, was collected for SOS in 2015

In addition to amazing informative opportunities during my internship, I’ve had lots of chances for pure fun.  Working on an island monument, I have had my fair share of kayak and boat trips.  I have been lucky enough to camp on beautiful remote islands and to see spots many lifelong residents don’t get to visit.


Just another day’s paddle out to check out island plant populations


Plant identification on the side of a trail at Iceberg Point, Lopez Island, San Juan Islands National Monument

By far the most rewarding parts of my internship were the people I saw every day in our little office.  The San Juan Islands National Monument has only two full time employees, Nick Teague (recreation planner) and Marcia deChadenedes (monument manager).  Nick has been with the San Juan Islands BLM for over ten years.  In fact he was the sole employee until 2013.  He does incredible work for the community, spearheading innumerable projects and often acting as the interface between the public and the government.  What’s more, he does all this with unfaltering positivity and heart.  Nick cares deeply about the land and each person he meets (I don’t know how he does it).  I have watched many a Nick Teague interaction, trying to decipher his disturbing good person-ness.  I haven’t quite solved that puzzle but I’ve yet to see someone leave a conversation with Nick without a little more smile on their face and just a tad more pep in their step.

The other full time actor in the monument office is Marcia deChadenedes.  Marcia is a force to be reckoned with.  She navigates the challenging worlds of bureaucracy and local politics with such grace and wit that sometimes I have to stop and stare.  She constantly pushes for what’s best for the entire community and landscape, redefining what it means to be a public servant.  Partnership, understanding, and mentorship are part of her every day.  She pushes for collaboration, fosters progressive thinking and helps others to reach their potential.  Marcia has the ability of quiet leadership as well as leadership through surprising people with chocolate in their desks. But more than a manager,  Marcia is of course one of the most creative silliest broads I know.  She is as likely to tell you an hilarious tale of unthinkable mishap as to drop a piece of sage wisdom.  I deeply appreciate her for that.  She is a constant source of inspiration for me and I’m so happy to have her as my mentor.


Lavender chip ice cream is one of my favorite flavors

My time at the San Juan Islands National Monument has given me confidence and experience with plants and people.  I have met great people and had priceless experiences.  I’ve sincerely enjoyed working with the BLM and will likely pursue a position with the federal government in the future.  However, I
am leaving the monument to follow another dream of mine: botany ice cream!! That’s right, I am starting a business selling ice cream at local farmers markets.  My ice cream generally highlights some botanical; often local native plants.  I love showcasing little known plant flavors and being able to show people plants they have seen a thousand times in a new light.  My ice cream includes Douglas Fir and Yerba Buena Chip (plus more universally tempting flavors like caramelized brown cow and lemon vanilla cheesecake).  As I prepare for this new adventure, I will remember all I have learned in my time as a CLM intern.  I am thrilled to have had this experience and excited to see what comes next.



CO State BLM Office-Last Day

It’s my last day here at the CO State BLM Office working with my mentor Carol Dawson. I’ve been here two weeks shy of a year, and what a year it’s been.

When I first approached Carol, basically asking her to hire me, there were several things I had hoped to gain from working here. First, I wanted to be a part of the rare species monitoring program she has established in the state, and I’ve done just that. It’s been wonderful to be able to see the amount of data on some of the plots that we have here; to be able to confidently say whether a population is stable, increasing, or decreasing. Working with a species for only one summer, or one year, doesn’t typically allow for these trends to be seen. So, it’s been encouraging to continue studies that were established, sometimes, more than 10 years ago. I’ve not only continued many long-term demographic studies, I’ve also modified monitoring plots in their infancy, and established new plots altogether. I am much more confident in my ability to develop a species specific monitoring study and protocols that will provide measurable, meaningful, and statistically sound results. It’s been fun putting the BLM technical reference for monitoring plant populations into practice. I found I not only really enjoy the field work involved in monitoring, the physical plot establishment and data collection, but I also enjoy the number crunching, ensuring enough of the plot is being monitored in order to detect a certain percent change over time with a specified power. It’s critical for reliable data. The second goal of mine before starting work was to gain experience writing technical reports. Again, I have done just that. I have written species reports for Penstemon grahamii and Penstemon scariosus var, albifluvis, and an annual summary of our rare species monitoring.

So, where am I going from here? While I had originally hoped to spend another summer here, I will be moving to the Tri-cities in Washington instead.  (It’s been my choice to leave, I think Carol would have let me stay). Over the last two years I’ve learned how important relationships are to me and my happiness, and while I have built many truly wonderful relationships here and would love to spend another summer working with these species and developing a monitoring study for a new one, I have chosen to move in order to be with my boyfriend. Fierce, independent ladies gag here. In all seriousness, we’ve been long distance for two years and I’m happy with my decision. However, it does mean I need a new job. I do have a part-time tutoring job lined up already, but am unsure exactly where my ‘career’ is heading. I took the GRE this summer, and am keeping grad school as an option, but don’t know exactly what I would want to study.

Overall, I loved learning about each of the rare species we monitor here in CO, working with personnel in our office and field offices across the state, working with the BLM’s partners, organizing years’ worth of data, compiling reports, mapping possible new plot locations, and more. I feel lucky to have explored such a large part of this state and to work with such an amazing mentor, as well as co-intern, Nathan. This internship has been an invaluable experience. Participating in the CLM program for two years has been an extremely worthwhile learning experience. I hope I have been as helpful to each of my mentors as they have been to me.


Colleen Sullivan

Below are some pictures of my experiences in CO, both work and play

Eutrema penlandii monitoring

Eutrema penlandii monitoring

Top of Mt. Quandry. Hiking '14ers' is very popular in CO, thus I had to do at least one.

Top of Mt. Quandry. Hiking ’14ers’ is very popular in CO, thus I had to do at least one.

Another '14er'

Another ’14er’. Mt Bierstadt

Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Botanic Gardens

From an SOS collection site

From an SOS collection site

Penstemon grahamii

Penstemon grahamii

Near a monitoring site

Near a monitoring site. P. grahamii I think

While at another monitoring site

While at another monitoring site

Near Astragalus debequaeus monitoring site

Near Astragalus debequaeus monitoring site

View of Pikes Peak at Garden of the Gods

View of Pikes Peak at Garden of the Gods

On the hike to Hanging Lake, outside Glenwood Springs CO

On the hike to Hanging Lake, outside Glenwood Springs CO

Hanging Lake, outside Glenwood Springs CO

Hanging Lake, outside Glenwood Springs CO

Devil's Backbone, outside of Loveland CO

Devil’s Backbone, outside of Loveland CO

Snow day

Snow day

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

View with working outside of Montrose CO (I think)

View while working outside of Montrose CO (I think)

Conundrum Hotsprings, outside of Aspen CO

Conundrum Hotsprings, outside of Aspen CO

A journey westward

I arrived in Carson City, NV about three weeks ago via the California Zephyr Amtrak Route from Chicago. Leaving behind the flat-lands of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, climbing the Rockies of Colorado and Utah, and waking up in the sparse sagebrush landscape of Nevada, made for a whirlwind journey through some remarkably diverse landscapes. I am thrilled by this opportunity to explore a new part of the country.

Through getting out in the field with my stellar team of fellow botany interns, I am starting to familiarize myself with the Great Basin landscape. This past week, we went out to the American Flat Mill, which is the site of a former gold and silver processing plant. The abandoned structure was recently demolished, and the site is in critical need of ecological rehabilitation.


This past Wednesday we spread a variety of native seed throughout the site including Basin wildrye (Leymus cinereus) and Antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata).

Teammates, Alec and Sam, loading up the seeders.

The following day we returned to the American Flat Mill to collect willow trimmings from various aggressive willow species, so that they might be propagated in May. We dug the trimmings a trench home for their dormant season.


Alec posing in our willow trimmings trench/bathtub.

The various debris and structures left behind from the processing plant give this site a curiously eerie aura. Learning about the rise and fall of the silver and gold mining era provides important insight into how this site has evolved, and how it has had to adapt over the last century. Our hope is that the seeding and planting efforts here will culminate into a place that has not forgotten its history, but has developed the strength necessary to thrive in the future.

Although still very foreign to my Midwestern home, I look forward to getting to know the landscape of the Great Basin–its stark geological features, xeric vegetation, and intense sun–and serving as a steward of its health.


Margaret Lindman

BLM, Carson City, NV