This past week, the rest of the Carson City intern crew and I were given the opportunity to attend the BLM Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Applicator Training Course in Salt Lake City. After a long day of driving across Nevada and into Utah on Monday, we finally made it, just in time to get some sleep before our rigorous training week that began bright and early on Tuesday. There were many different lecturers, who spoke on a broad spectrum of subjects. These included an overview of plant taxonomy and identification methods, common invasive weeds of the west, forest pathogens, biocontrol methods, and targeted grazing, to name a few. We learned a lot from these speakers, and also learned many technical aspects of applying pesticides, such as when and how to apply them, and what kind of pesticide works on different plants. For example, one should not apply a foliar contact herbicide to a creeping perennial weed, because this would not target the roots and the plant would come back the next year. On Thursday afternoon and Friday morning we had a general exam and category exams, in order to be certified in pesticide use in agricultural plant pests, forestry, aquatics, and right-of-ways.
Overall, it was a great week, we all passed our exams, and we were able to explore Salt Lake City a bit too! It was really cold out, but it was so beautiful because it snowed a few times while we were there, which was really fun. We returned to Carson City late on Friday and then left before daybreak on Saturday for a Lichen Identification course in Chico, California. The weather there was the complete opposite— 70 degrees and sunny. All of the acclimating my body had done to cold weather in Salt Lake was swiftly undone in that one day…but learning about lichens was fascinating and definitely worth it!