My CLM internship experience so far has been very rewarding. I am working on a challenging project focused on non-conifer vegetation communities in the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument of southern Oregon. My co-worker Jason Pennell and I have surveyed over 150 polygons ranging from oak woodlands to meadows. Learning to accurately identify everything (grasses, forbs, shrubs, and trees) was tough at first but now I feel like I have really got to know the local vegetation. We also gathered structural data for the oak stands and the percent cover for each plant species. We are now working on analyzing the huge amount of data we have collected. We want to understand the environmental variables which drive these communities, so we are using GIS to gather data on variables such as slope, aspect, and soil type for our surveyed polygons. We then will use statistical programs (PC ordination and Hyper Niche) to analyze landscape level vegetation patterns and try to better understand which environmental variables drive these communities. Needless to say it’s a big project and I am learning a ton.
Also I would like to say that I am very grateful for intern programs such as this, which bring together students and land managers. I feel like land management agencies really need innovative thinking and fresh ideas. Students on the other hand can learn a lot about the complexities of real world conservation issues when exposed to the inner workings of government agencies. I know I have!
The last thing I would like to mention is how many helpful people I have met during this internship. I unfortunately did not make it to the CLM gathering in Grand Canyon (which I later really regretted), but I have met many wonderful people along the way and that’s what life is all about!
Thank you CBG, for giving us all this awesome opportunity.
From: Kelly McD, BLM Medford, Oregon