Loving variety

Everyday has offered completely new learning opportunities. One day I am following cow trails to record disturbances in sensitive plant habitat, and the next day I am working with forestry and measuring trees. With all of the variety in my days, I find that I feel most fulfilled when working with the anomalies in nature. For example, my day with the forestry team involved measuring the Ponderosas growing in pj woodland. Previous research has shown that these trees are genetically different from your typical Ponderosas in that they can survive, and even thrive, in dry, desert-like habitat. For some reason, I like the idea of working among “mutants” and aiding in our understanding of them.
In addition to that, I have been monitoring threatened Physeria obcordata populations which only occur on steep white shale slopes on the 13th Tongue. I have been collecting its seeds along with seeds from a sister species for a lab at CSU. In the lab they will be growing each species in hopes to determine why Physeria obcordata populations are limited to the steep narrow bands of white shale when a very similar species is not.
Performing the somewhat monotonous task of collecting seeds becomes suddenly exciting when I acknowledge my role as essential to a new scientific discovery.

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