An “Udderly” Amazing Month

I had no idea that my life and job here in Moab, Utah would go so far beyond seed collection! Aside from beginning seed collection, I have gotten to work with the amazing hydrologists here on projects aiming to protect lakes, streams, springs, and wetlands. I accompanied my mentor on a field trip to Medicine Lake where he will be conducting a huge fencing project in the hopes of preserving a very important wetland. The nature of the field trip was to introduce the project to different departments, including Range and Archaeology, in order to make sure the building of a fence would not cause any indirect damage to the area. It has been so exciting to meet people from so many different government departments and get to learn about what they do and see how all the pieces of the puzzle have to fit together for a project to go forward!

Hydrologists are so involved with fencing projects, I have learned, because cattle and livestock cause a lot of damage to soil and plant systems around water sources by causing hummocking. In a nutshell, hummocking is when cattle compacts soils in riparian areas causing it to puddle and exposing soil to erosion. This, in turn, damages natural vegetation succession in riparian areas. Moo knew? (Get it? Like who knew?) I got to help with my first fencing project last week, repairing a barbed wire fence around Warner Lake.

In terms of seed collection, our first target species is a lovely plant in the pea family known as Utah Sweetvetch, Hedysarum boreale. She has been the ideal first species to begin my seed collection journeys because she has very distinct “pods” that contain her seeds, and the dreamiest purple-pink flowers. Seed ripening has just become a lot more uniform across populations that we have observed, so more seeds to come!

Utah Sweetvetch, H. boreale
Lovely seeds on a Utah Sweetvetch, not quite ready for collection

My favorite botanical spot so far? The gorgeous are Sego Lily, Calochortus nuttallii! This lovely perennial monocot is the Utah State Flower and is known for her campanulate flowers. I have never seen anything quite like it. This unique flower has a rich history, as it is said that indigenous peoples in this area would harvest the roots and eat them during poor crop seasons.

Sego Lily, Calochortus nuttallii

I am so excited to learn more about Utah’s native flora, collect more seeds and get to help more with hydrology projects!

USFWS Klamath Falls internship

I started my CLM internship in April and have seen and done many exciting things. For my first week, I helped out with the telemetry crew. We took the boat out on Upper Klamath Lake, checked on some telemetry stations, and set up a few new stations. It was interesting to see how the stations were set up. On Friday of the first week, I helped the hatchery crew spawn the large adult Lost River Suckers. This was pretty cool to see after USGS netted the gathered the suckers; we grabbed four male suckers and got some milt from them, then we grabbed some females and got the eggs. We mixed the milt and eggs and then mixed them with a feather before we stored them on dry ice till they go to the hatchery.

Me holding an adult Lost River Sucker
Eggs being excreted from female
In the small bowls are the eggs of one female being mixed with four different males. In the large bowl is another female’s eggs being mixed with a feather after the male milt was added.

The next week I went to the hatchery, helped check the eggs, and cleaned some tanks. Then went out to do some electrofishing. The creek was turbid and fast-moving as a result, we only got to remove a few brook trout.

We went to the Klamath Marsh at night the next week to conduct Western Yellow Rail surveys. Even though it was cold, this was a lot of fun; we went out in the marsh with waders and used a Bluetooth speaker to call them in; once they flew near, we netted them. We placed a band on them, plucked some feathers for DNA analysis, measured wing length, and weighed them.
The next week I did a mixture of electrofishing and the hatchery. Then I was at the hatchery for three weeks. The hatchery has its good times, like when we collected larvae from the Williams River and visited the net pond in Upper Klamath Lake, but there are times that at a little mundane when weed eating, cleaning tanks, or counting hundreds of tiny larva fish.
We got to help the refuge team band some geese. This was a pretty unique event as it started with airboats rounding up the geese and us on kayaks pushing the geese into the pens. I have rounded up cattle in the past, and rounding up geese was not much different. Once we got them in the pens, it was time to catch them to place the bands. After catching one, you tuck their head under their wing and hand them to the next person like a football. It was a good time with only a few scratches and two bites.
So far, this experience has been great. I have met a lot of great people and gained lots of experience.

Month 1 in the Klamath Basin

I spent the first month of my internship doing a lot of floating around the Klamath Falls USFWS office. We had the opportunity to be a part of a few different projects and gain diversified experience, as well as meet so many great mentors throughout the field.

We started out with the hatchery team, working with Lost River suckers and Shortnose suckers. These species are a key focus throughout the basin, as they have become endangered by water quality issues throughout their small range. We got the chance to be a part of larval collection from the Williamson River, as well as learn the ropes of taking care of the fish being raised by the hatchery over the course of my first 3 weeks. This included feeding, water quality testing, water treatments, hatchery upkeep, hormone injections and so much more!

During the next week, we got to work closely with our mentor on his bull trout projects. This involved monitoring for population size within the existing population range and removing invasive brook trout in a potential range. The populations of bull trout in Oregon were already existing in very narrow ranges and few were in a good position, but the recent Bootleg Fire created a larger problem sweeping through a few of those key ranges. Due to these populations being isolated from others they have become genetically distinct and can not be helped through outsourcing to populations outside of the basin.

Our first bull trout catch of the season!

We also have had the opportunity to be a part of a Canadian goose banding project, taking data on the populations within this flyway. This was an adventure because I am terrified of birds, but great exposure therapy! As well as help with a population survey of Applegate’s Milkvetch, an endangered species of pea plant, only endemic to the Klamath Basin and currently suffering due to drought conditions.

Holding a gosling during banding, and a rare occurrence of a smile on my face anywhere near a bird.

Life in Tonasket, WA

Tonasket, Washington is a land of extremes. Surrounded by low valleys and high peaks, it is full of hippies too liberal for Seattle mingling with folks too conservative for Spokane. Of all the Tonasketers (as I have been told they are called) I have ran into my favorite is probably the nice fella at the co-op who is always up for a conversation. At our first encounter he gave me a rundown of his life. His mother was an L.A. socialite/burlesque dancer who may or may not have known Lenny Bruce. With his mother’s connections he reckons he could have been a Hollywood star, but decided to rebel and move to Tonasket. He regrets this choice every day. At our next encounter he was wearing a cowboy hat and a cross necklace. In the week since we had last seen each other he had either found Jesus, or found a necklace. Either way, I hope it brought him some solace. He did not recognize me, but really wanted me to buy an amino acid based soy sauce which he claimed contained “the healthy salts”. I did not purchase this item, a choice which I may too one day regret. Such is the nature of life. 

The Tonasket real estate market is in shambles. Luckily, my landlord has generously provided me a trailer to stay in. I share the trailer with many mice, one of which has an affinity for pooping in the kitchen sink. I have had worse roommates. In lieu of rent I have been doing odd jobs around his property. Mainly I have been pulling weeds and organizing rocks into piles next to a pond. The frogs and newts that live around the pond will use the rocks as a refuge from predators and the hot sun. Who would have thought that filling a bucket with rocks from a pile and then moving the rocks to a secondary location where I arrange them into a new pile could be so fulfilling?

My other work has been going well too. I have been conducting plant surveys in the Colville National Forest, paying special attention to observing sensitive plant species. To date I have seen four species from our sensitive plant list, and discovered three new sensitive plant populations. It has been a thrill to conduct these surveys, and I hope to conduct more in the coming months. As far as seed collection goes, myself and my co-intern have located many populations of silky lupine, mountain brome, and fireweed. In the coming weeks we plan to return to these populations to monitor phenology. Hopefully we can begin seed collection soon. 

Some sensitive plant species of the Colville National Forest. I love them all.

Making Midewin Mine

For the last Eighteen years of my life I have lived in the state of Massachusetts so the prospect of moving halfway across the country to start my first job after graduating college was daunting. Also, the idea of living alone for the first time was a little haunting. But after my first month here the time I’ve spent at Midewin has been quite rewarding. Life at Midewin has been anything but mid, it has been quite fun! I had to start by learning the lay of the land (which is overall quite flat) which included dangers to avoid such as the Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), that upon touch and upon the sun’s rays hitting you will cause a reaction that causes your skin to burn and create a rash. When encountering said plant while walking through the prairie one needs to either steer clear or raise their arms above their head so that their arms don’t come in contact with the phototoxic plant.

Pastinaca sativa

Vegetative villains aside, my overall orientation to the prairie was swift and informative. We went over good places to collect seed, the history of Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, all the various facilities and operations they have, and much more. As we got into the swing of things, mornings became essential hours in which to do field work so we could escape some of the most heated hours of the day. In the AM was when we found and collected many plants that had seed such as Carex stricta and Carex bickenellii

Carex stricta
Carex bicknellii

A majority of seed that we are looking for come from sedges, a grass-like family of species that is slightly tricky to identify so we were put through a workshop of how to tell what a sedge is as well as what sedge is what. In that workshop one person gave us a helpful rhyme which goes like “sedges have edges, rushes are round, grasses have joints all the way to the ground”.

Besides seed collection we have had the joyful opportunity to partake in other projects that happen at Midewin such as bird surveys and hydrological testing. With those experiences we learned a lot about the different bird species that make a home at Midewin and why certain birds prefer certain grass heights as well as the great importance that hydrology plays in the health of Midewin as we tested streams and ponds for various characteristics. All along the way we have familiarized ourselves with the prairie and its characteristic species that make it different from other places in America, including two of my favorites the prairie dock plant (Silphium terebinthinaceum ) and the compass plant (Silphium laciniatum). The dock plant has an ingenious self cooling system that pumps refreshingly cold water up its stem. It’s always fun to go up to a dock plant and lay your hands on it to feel how cold it is relative to the plants around it! 

Silphium terebinthinaceum (left) and Silphium laciniatum (far right)   


Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

Carex, and Silphium, and Penstemon… Oh my!

Cannot believe I have already spent a month working at Midewin Prairie. I came in knowing how to identify literally only two tall grass prairie plants, now I walk around my community prairie and have fun pointing out all of the different plants that they have included! My dog is not as enthusiastic about the frequent stops in the sun to look at plants… but he gets over it quickly with a belly rub.

Here’s some highlights from the first month at Midewin:

Funny Puns

“How do you tell the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?” … “One you see later and the other in awhile” – Harsha Pandaraboyina

One of the best jokes I have heard in awhile, especially when it comes out of no where as you are marching to a site through tall grass and are concentrating very hard not to twist your ankle. Working with this group of guys is honestly one of the best parts of the job, they are all so knowledgeable about different things, are great jokesters in tiring situations, and let me be in charge. Plus they have great tastes in music so we can jam out while planting seeds or watering our thirsty plants (the Midwest is in a serious drought at the moment). I am looking forward to working with them for the next few months!

From left to right, the CLM interns for Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Harsha Pandaraboyina, me, Dade Bradley, Nathan Augustine.

Seeds, Seeds, and More Seeds!

Wow have we been collecting and identifying a bunch of plants and their seeds! We have collected what we have but unfortunately we have been in a terrible drought here so our mentors say the seed might not be as viable this year as in years past. My favorite plants to identify thus far are Spiderwort, Penstemons, and Silphium because one of them (prairie dock plant) has a neat cooling system inside it so when you touch it one side is colder than the other! So now we all live to touch both sides when we see it.

Look we are Birders now!

Fun fact: 27 years ago researchers noticed an influx of native grassland bird species in the Midewin area(which at that time was a US army base). They realized that these tall/short grassland prairies were unique to the area that had become largely agriculture fields. So Midewin National Tall grass Prairie was established, for the birds! Makes sense as to why the biologists conduct at least three bird surveys year here.

June calls for the grassland bird survey at Midewin. We got to work with the wildlife biologist/technician and go out to different sites around the prairie to identify different birds based on visual and audio cues. Although we did not know much about birds in the beginning we quickly got good at identifying key species like the Dickcissel, Red-winged black bird, and Common Yellowthroat. Now whenever we go out into the field I am quick to point out some of the birds in the area. Which I know Nathan secretly appreciates being the plant guy that he is. Harsha had a ton of fun with the binoculars too! Needless to say, we are now birders as well as botanists in training at Midewin.

Harsha having fun with binoculars!

The Pollinators to our Orchids

Platanthera praeclara is a rare, threatened orchid found at Midewin that has been monitored and hand pollinated for a few years through a program with USFS and US Fish and Wildlife. The interns were able to go out with our botany specialist and a few technicians to learn how to hand pollinate and visually observe the orchid in the field so that we can help with the orchid survey that started in late June. So we learned how to take the pollinia from one orchid and hand pollinate it to another orchid in order to keep the populations consistent in numbers at Midewin. Sadly, because of the drought here the population numbers are lower than normal years, but we did find enough orchids to be successful in pollinating. Hopefully at least a few set seed so they can repopulate in the coming years.

Harsha hand pollinating an orchid with a toothpick, pollen from a different orchid, and a great amount of concentration!

Whatever you do, DON’T DRINK THE WATER!

We got to work with the hydrologic technician and conduct water quality surveys around the prairie which means waders! We got to learn about the role that he plays in the health of the wildlife and prairie, what he wants to do in the future, and the equipment he uses to learn more about the water quality. We took readings with the YSI probe, gathered samples for nutrient composition, looked at the depth of the stream, and sampled for E.coli. Yes that’s right E.coli in the streams. We looked at six different streams around Midewin, some were beautifully clear with fish and crawdads swimming around, some were a little more sandy and harder to see but all were full of E.coli… Long story short, we look amazing in waders, but don’t drink the water!

CLM interns showing off our styling skills with these fashionable waders.

Carex…. Still working on it…

“Sedges have edges, Rushes are round, and Grasses have nodes from the top to the ground”

Exactly what goes through my mind when we have to identify and collect Cyperaceae (Sedges) out in the field. Luckily our mentors have given us a guide to all of the Carex species found at Midewin, but it doesn’t stop the identification process from being very stressful and long. We have started collecting Carex out in the field and wow there are a lot of them to identify in our more wetland habitats. Thankfully our techs and mentors are more than willing to help us identify the sites and species we are looking for. hopefully with time and effort we will be just as good at identifying as they are!

Dade looking to collect Carex stricta at Grant Creek Annex

Hello From The Lolo!

As June comes to a close, I can’t believe how quickly the past few weeks have come and gone. Time flies when you are having fun…. and by fun, I of course mean keying out plants! My introduction to the Lolo National Forest has been one full of excitement and education. Moving to Missoula from the East Coast has definitely been a big adjustment, especially in terms of learning about all the plants in this region. Luckily, my mentor has been very helpful (and patient!) as he points out each plant and makes sure I can correctly identify the species we come across in the field. As I follow along on rare plant surveys and other important projects that the Lolo National Forest Botany Team takes on, I’m amazed at the beautiful landscape where I get to work every day. Sometimes I have to remember to pick my head up take a look around, even though the plants on the ground are the most exciting part. I’ve been lucky enough to map some Pinus albicaulis which are considered a sensitive species and got to document a rare plant population with my mentor, a group of little Botrychium crenulatum, how cute!

Botrychium crenulatum from a Rare Plant Survey

Another exciting learning experience I had was tagging along with the invasive/weeds team to spray for weeds at a nursery in Plains, MT. Pictured below is my coworker giving a big thumbs up after killing all the Cirsium arvense and choke weed we could find.

This last week of June I had the opportunity to attend the R1 Botany Grass Identification training in Bozeman, MT and got to meet up with some fellow Chicago Botanic Garden Interns. It was great to catch up, learn about Montana grasses and discuss the work we had each been doing in our respective forests. Overall, I am having a great experience and cannot wait for the seed collecting to begin.

That’s all for now!

Orchids & Sedges & Rushes, oh my!

Juncus dudleyi, Carex vulpinoidea, Scirpus pendulus

I have always shied away from the sedge family (Cyperaceae), spotting them on almost every walk through woodlands, prairies, wetlands, or neighborhoods. It would usually just be a passing comment to my partner: “Look, another sedge, and another, and another,” without giving them the attention they deserve. Cyperaceae is one of the most successful and species-rich flowering plant families in the world, explaining their presence in nearly every type of habitat. If you are a fan of water chestnuts, you ought to know that you are actually eating a corm of a sedge (Eleocharis dulcis) – pretty neat! Carex, the largest genus in this family, serves as an important ecological component of wetlands and wet prairies, making them crucial for restoration purposes. As a result, they comprise over 50% of our target species list. This group is notoriously difficult to identify, but with some time, head-scratching, and magnification, it’s not all that bad. I extend a special thanks to the botanists at Midewin (Michelle, Jen, Eric, Grant, and Anna) who have willingly shared their knowledge and provided helpful resources to enhance my understanding of this group. Taking a closer look at this diverse and often overlooked family has opened my eyes to its significance and beauty in the landscape.

Carex meadii

The eastern prairie white-fringed orchid (Platanthera leucophaea) was once abundant throughout its range. However, the conversion of its habitat, from wet to mesic prairies, into crop land or pasture, has led to a significant decline in this species, as well as in many others. During our monitoring efforts, we had the opportunity to hand-pollinate the flowers, aiming to improve the quality and quantity of seeds. Carefully gathering pollinia on toothpicks at one site, we transferred them to plants at another site. The only successful pollinators of the eastern prairie white-fringed orchid are nocturnal hawkmoths. Despite the presence of these pollinators, the populations of these orchids remain small and fragmented so human intervention is necessary. To enhance genetic diversity, pollen is transferred from one subpopulation to another. In extreme cases, it is even shipped across the Midwest to ensure the success of this species across its entire range.

Counting Chrysosplenium in Colville National Forest

I showed up to Tonasket, Washington with a car filled to the brim with memories (junk) collected (hoarded) over my 22 years of life on the East Coast, two faded bumper stickers, and an incessantly lit check engine light. Like my Massachusetts license plate, I felt a little out of place in this small, self-sufficient community. 

My position with CLM and the Forest Service has found me working on the Western half of the Colville National Forest, a mountainous forest dominated by douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and pinegrass (Calamagrostis rubescens). While we wait for the forest’s forbs and grasses to mature enough for us to collect seeds, my co-intern and I have been conducting plant surveys alongside Tonasket’s botany team, searching for rare and invasive plants.

Views from Colville NF’s Buckhorn project area

At first I was intimidated by Erica, Tonasket’s head botanist’s, encyclopedic knowledge of the region’s plant species, but I appreciate deeply how much I have to learn from her. July Jenn already knows far more about plants than May Jenn did, and that is entirely thanks to Erica’s support and instruction. Some days the learning feels impossibly slow, like my team would probably run more smoothly without me there. But it’s the fact that despite my lack of experience, they’re still willing to bear with me and give me the opportunity to learn that I’m grateful for. Before, I was nervous that leaving academia meant the beginning of my brain’s deterioration, but it certainly won’t be rotting during the course of this internship.

So far, the team has successfully found several monkey flower (Erythranthe suksdorfii) a rare plant that the Forest Service has interest in cataloguing for further monitoring and protection. We’ve also gotten to visit known populations of columbia quillwort (Isoetes minima) and golden carpet (Chrysosplenium tetrandrum), rare plants that have previously been identified in Colville NF’s Buckhorn project area (the area in which we do the majority of our work). I feel incredibly lucky to have witnessed any of these plants in the wild, when I know some botany teams spend entire seasons searching for rare plants fruitlessly-no pun intended.

Every day is different in the field, and some are more challenging that others. My co-intern, David, and my first day conducting a survey independently of our mentor, Erica, sticks out as one of those days. Our task was to revisit a known population of Chrysosplenium tetrandrum, count the number of plants, and keep a running exhaustive species list of the project area. Simple enough. The very first hurdle of the day were my species identification skills (abysmal), the next was the path to our plant population sight (very overgrown). Navigating through unkempt undergrowth and over fallen trees alongside a healthy creek, while swatting mosquitos and avoiding prickly plants, I certainly got my socks wet a number of times, and sustained a healthy number of bruises. Discovering a Chrysosplenium population that had exploded since the last botanist site visit many years ago, however, was certainly worth the journey.

Everything is new to me here. The plants, the scenery, the gas prices. I can’t help but to think of the sights and sounds of east coast city life. The feeling of estrangement has been slow to fade–each day I encounter things that remind me how far I am from home. But I think it’s time for me to accept the unfamiliar, embrace the opportunity I’ve been given to work here, and hopefully to learn about myself alongside Okanogan County’s plant life.

butterfly and I enjoying the silky lupine (Lupinis sericeus)

Grasslands, Badlands, and Bananas. What more could you want?

The first week of interning was mainly an introduction to the Forest Service, trainings, learning local plant species and getting to know our team. We took trips to the field and collected plants to make our own sort of field guide to the grasslands. I also took one of the most interesting driving tests of my life. Our driving instructor (Brian Dickerson) wanted us to get some solid experience driving the trucks on dirt roads, so he took us on probably the most treacherous road in the area. I’m talking winding turns, loose gravel, lakes in the middle of the road, and steep boulders I didn’t even know the truck was capable of climbing. At the end of the day though, it did make me a more confident driver…I think. After drivers test, we got to help Brian check on some owl boxes in the area and look for frogs in the mud. Overall, 10/10.

Week two was where things got interesting. We started the process of aerial cover on our plots out at the Hay Canyon field site. This basically consists of moving large (heavy) “boardwalks” over each plot, identifying all species within a particular area of the plot, and then estimating the cover of each with another coworker. The first couple of days, it was pretty difficult for me to do all three of those things. I referred back to my field guide a lot and practically trial and errored my cover estimates until I could present a reasonable argument to my team member. We also started performing stem counts in the plots. For this procedure, a small PVC rectangle is placed in the lower left corner of the plot. Every single stem within this small rectangle must be identified to species and counted. Looking at the size of the rectangle, it does not seem so bad. However, some of the plots contain tricky species like Bouteloua gracilis, Bouteloua dactyloides, and Carex filifolia. Picking through each and every stem, verifying it is an actual stem, identifying it, and recording it can become a bit tedious at times, but I do feel quite accomplished when I am finished. Aerial cover and stem counts made up the majority of this last month, and I have gotten pretty good at identifying plant species.

Hay Canyon Field Site. (Those tiny specs are people).

Stem demography was next on the training list. We took measurements of development stage, stem length, and leaf length of marked grasses within each plot. This activity was rather cushy, compared to aerial cover and stem counts. One person sits and records all the numbers, while the other looks measures the stems of a small amount of grasses.

We also learned some new skills when it comes to measuring soil moisture, weather patterns, and maintaining the equipment. There are PVC tubes that go straight into the ground in the middle of each plot. Using a soil moisture probe, we can precisely measure changes in the soil throughout the growing season. We also use less advanced probes to measure the soil moisture at just two specific depths using a system called EC-5. The weather station monitors sunlight, wind, and precipitation at each of the field sites. We learned how to perform checks on all of the equipment. Lastly, our rainout shelters are an important part of the project. They simulate an extreme drought by blocking 50% of the precipitation a plot receives. Studying the differences in plant species and demography at these plots tells us a lot about how the grassland responds to drought. The shelter (see picture below) is at the mercy of the elements. The plastic shingles can become brittle in the sunlight, be severely damaged by the wind, and most recently, be absolutely annihilated by hail. After the last big storm, every single one of our rainout shelters at the badlands site was damaged and needed shingles to be replaced. Needless to say, we all learned a lot about maintaining these shelters.

After we finished aerial cover, stem counts, and stem demography for the Hay Canyon site, we got to move on to the Cedar Pass site, which is just south of Badlands National Park. The views from this site are beautiful, and the flora and fauna is just as interesting. However, the mosquitos, flies, and extreme heat were a bit much some days. It felt like no matter how much deet bug spray I put on, the insects still wanted to be all up in my business (and eyes, and nose, and ears). Like Tess said one day, “The flies are a great motivator to finish your stem counts quickly”. Last week, the heat got pretty unbearable in the badlands. There was little to no wind, no cloud cover, and radiating heat all day. I drank more water than I think I have my whole life and still ended up a little light headed. At least the view is good!

Cedar Pass Field Site view.

Our team has some fun stories and quirks. One of our supervisors, Jackie, is super energetic and even has her own catchphrases. “Take it to eleven”, referencing the movie “This is Spinal Tap” is one of them. One of the other interns, Kyle, always has a crazy story to tell about childhood, college, or culinary masterpieces (i.e. something he calls “Creamy Beans”). Perhaps one of the most interesting quirks of the team is the banana peel game. This all started when one of their previous seasonals threw a banana peel at Jackie. This seasonal, Brian, and Jackie began a years long banana war, where they would either throw banana peels at each other or hide them in some way. Think: banana peels on cars, in the mail, at your desk, etc. One day, I had a banana at lunch, and Jackie asked for the peel. She placed part of the peel on the dash of our coworkers car, and the other part in the gas cap. Our coworker later found the peel and sent a very serious text about his theories on how the rainout shelters got so destroyed. He believes it was not the hail, but in fact a very devious banana. The holes in the rainout shelters are about the the right size, so it makes sense. Jackie thinks it was more likely a cutie clementine, but apparently they are more into credit card fraud then destruction of property.

So far, I really like working with my team and living the Black Hills. When I am not counting grass out in the middle of no-man’s-land, I am most often enjoying the camping, hiking, and fishing in the area with my boyfriend. The views are stellar, and fishing is pretty good too :).