Final Weeks of my year in the Sonoran Desert…

As my internship is winding down to my last few weeks, I reflect upon the experiences that I’ve had; it’s been an amazing time. I’m coming up to my eleventh month at the Yuma BLM field office and I can’t describe how different I feel now in comparison to 10 months ago, or even six months ago. As I update my resume to apply for new jobs, I have to consider which experiences to leave out. I’n addition to irrigating restoration areas (my main resposibility) I have monitored and gathered wild burros, helped with 2 wild horse and burro adoptions, surveyed bats, rare plants, marshbirds and mine shafts, built kiosks for wilderness areas, implemented monitoring stations for quagga mussels, organized a public weed pull, taken various DOI learn classes, taught high schoolers GPS, leatned GIS, and this list could go on for days. My decision to take the 6-month extension last December was one of the best I’ve ever made. The last 6 months were probably the most important of my time here. I feel like I really have the BLM and policies figured out; I can actually participate at meetings instead of just being a passive listener. I was entrusted with the task of Biologocal Ckearances for an Abandoned Mining Lands (AML) Categtegorical Exclusion (CX)-(apparently, I also have all the acronyms down, a feat in itself!) and I really just feel at home at the office and performing assigned tasks. My advice to future interns would be to get yourself involved in as many projects as you possibly can; the best thing about the BLM is that teamwork is imperative. No one can finish a job without the aid/complicance of the other speciailists, which leaves plenty of time to work with everyone. Do not sit idlly at your desk when you have nothing to do-ask the other specilists if they need any help (especially in the field!)-so long as it’s okay with you mentor. You have an incredible opportunity at your hands and take advantage! Seizing opportunities has made me not only a better job candidate (I was offered a job with the Nature Conservancy) but a stronger person; thanks so much Krissa and Marian for this invaluable experience! Enjoy!

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