Although it’s been two years since I graduated from college, I suddenly feel like a “fresher” again. I have moved to unfamiliar Carson City and am the new person in the BLM office, learning how to navigate the maze of cubicles, finding the restroom and light switches, and, more importantly, meeting people who have been here for years before me and have much knowledge to pass on. Even simply hearing the chat around the office gives insight into what it is like to make a career of natural resource management.
My mentor, Dean, passed on helpful guidance about what it means to work for the government: the public puts their trust in us to do a good job. Taxpayer money funds the BLM, and we have the mandate of spending that money – our time – well. I don’t believe most public servants have any intention of wasting time or money, but the statement is a useful reminder of the greater meaning of one’s daily duties.
The most impactful experiences of the internship so far have been sensory: the fragrance of big sagebrush and the sharp smell of a burned forest, the red-brown-yellow palette of the wintered Great Basin, and the crunch of secret ice under the dry grass on a walk across the field. As I learn new plant names and become familiar with the local geography, I appreciate the landscape that is my new home more and more.
I have also enjoyed getting to know the people I will be spending the majority of my waking time with over the next ten months. Throughout recent travels I have found it is the friendships I made that I recall most dearly, and I look forward to fostering those here.