Winter, and a new beginning

I moved to Boise, Idaho two weeks ago. Coming from Miami, the scenery seems barren due to the lack of green. It is also significantly colder, about 30 degrees compared to 70 degrees. Once I bought a winter jacket (there were none in Miami stores), I felt comfortable. Now I’m used to biking in the cold weather, and commuting to work in below freezing weather. I can see why layers are so important.

During the winter I will mostly be working on databasing projects. There is a large collection of lichens, at the BLM herbarium that needs to be reorganized and updated. It’s amazing how many nuances there are to maintaining a herbarium. Some of the details that need to be considered are nomenclature changes, GPS, and making sure all the details on the collection label match the database record. It is time consuming but rewarding to know that I am putting together a collection that future researchers can utilize.

At the moment, I am working on a Florida lichen database, checking all 1,000 records and tying up all the loose ends. My boss collected lichens in Florida for many years, and would like to donate the lichens to Florida institutions. Many universities in Florida do not have large collections of Florida lichens, and this is a way to disseminate knowledge and put the lichens in a place where they will be useful and accessible. For my undergraduate studies, I studied Florida lichens, so the opportunity to continue working with them is exciting. There is so much to study, and the information from this database will be important for ecological research.

I hope to go out in the field next week. There might be sagebrush seeds to collect. If there is precipitation or snow, it might be possible to lay some seeds on a restoration site. I’m very curious to see what this desert looks like. From afar it looks lifeless, but I’m sure many plants are growing, camouflaged into the scenery.

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