A Fresh Perspective

During this internship, I’ll be working out of the Los Lunas Plant Materials Center in New Mexico. Our job is to collect seed from the southern portion of the Colorado Plateau in New Mexico. This is my first year as an SOS intern and already it has been a great experience. Thus far, I have learned an incredible amount about botany, going from as basic an understanding of plants as my Environmental Science degree allotted me to learning how to recognize families in the field and possessing a growing vocabulary of terminology used in the keys.

Calochortus near Farmington, NM

Calochortus near Farmington, NM

What’s great is I’m already able to apply some of this new knowledge in the field and I’m even able to recognize some of the genera and species characteristic to the region. So far, it has been a rewarding opportunity to tilt my education in a direction more suited to my career path and I look forward to how I might be able to use this experience in the future.

Several trips to public lands outside of Los Lunas to determine what’s out there have revealed some of the species we now know to be on our target list. One of the highlights of this internship is being able to travel to new sites and meet some of the people involved in Seeds of Success, including many botanists and BLM folks here in New Mexico. This week, we are in Farmington getting acquainted with some of the species on the more northern portion on the New Mexico-bounded Colorado Plateau.

Townsendia incana

Townsendia incana near Farmington, NM

I’m beginning to view this landscape from a different, rather refreshing, perspective. To the untrained eye, especially at higher speeds and in passing, the flora of this region may tend to appear rather homogeneous. However, the Arizona New Mexico plateau, as I’ve experienced it, is actually an ever-changing, diverse collage with a seemingly endless array of possibilities. The diversity that exists in a region with relatively low annual precipitation is truly amazing.

Having gotten a firm grasp on our target species list, next week will mark the beginning of our field excursions to seek out these populations. I look forward to what we might find.

Eriogonum ovalifolium

Eriogonum ovalifolium near Farmington, NM

Tessia Robbins
Los Lunas PMC, NM

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