My Fourth Month in Casper, Wyoming.

Fourth month down, the time is really flying here! There is nothing about this position that I do not love plus all the people I work with are wonderful.

Pretty Avocet seen in the field

Pretty Avocet seen in the field

I started off the month by helping the Casper Field Office’s forester, Cindy Allen, with multiple wildlife surveys. I got to go out to Coal Mountain and walk throughout an area that is going to be thinned out from Juniper (Juniperus spp.) to promote understory growth and Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) regrowth. I was also able to go out and walk an area that is proposed for a fence installation project. For these wildlife surveys I walked with a wildlife biologist, Elizabeth Thyfault, and surveyed the area from any BLM sensitive wildlife species and possible active raptor nest sites. I also got to do another wildlife survey for a proposed fence project that one of the rangeland health staff members, Matthew Roberts, has been working on that needs to get clearance from all resource departments.

This month I was able to go on my first on-site. An on-site is where resource specialist go out to a location where a company wants to drill and oil well (or something similar) and they check that site to make sure that there is not anything at the site that could be disturbed by noise or visually. We went to approximately 15 proposed well pads, each having a maximum of four wells for each pad. At these sites, as a wildlife biologist, we would look for raptor nests within ½ mile of the proposed site, any signs of sage grouse habitat (including leks), and other BLM sensitive wildlife species. I believe that meeting all of the people from the oil company and interacting with them in order to understand what they do was very helpful to me if I decided to stay out west; being from NJ there are not many oil wells in the area to be worried about.

The last week of the month was spent cleaning out bat-boxes and backpack spraying for cheat grass. Then I got to fly home to NJ for a Disney cruise with my family, which was a nice way to break up my time here. I love it so much here and I am sure this was one of the best opportunities I have had to fully emerge me into the wildlife biologist field. I hope that I will be able to land a permanent position as a wildlife biologist somewhere out west.

My cruise went to Nova Scotia, Canada - such a beautiful place!

My cruise went to Nova Scotia, Canada – such a beautiful place!