I have just began my internship with the Burns District Bureau of Land Management in the beautiful high desert of Eastern Oregon. My name is Dan Mayer and I am a very recent graduate of Paul Smith’s College of the Adirondack Park in Northern New York. I graduated last weekend with a B.S. in Fisheries & Wildlife Science (Wildlife Concentration) and a Geographic Information Systems Certificate. After graduating, I was home for one day before driving cross country to Oregon, complete with a multitude of National Park Visits and National Forest drive throughs.
Today was the first day of my internship based out of the Burns District BLM. During my internship, I will be conducting vegetation sampling techniques in order to evaluate the effectiveness of post-wildlfire rehabilitation efforts as part of the BLM’s Emergency Response & Stabilization Program (ES&R). A large part of the beginning of my internship will be spent familiarizing myself with the native and noxious vegetation in the nearly 1.1 million acre district. As part of the program, we will be revisiting many of the fires from last year’s season, to see what’s growing back or more importantly what isn’t.
I was able to get into the field this afternoon with my mentor, Casey, in order to evaluate fire conditions by collecting, weighing, and drying sagebrush leaves.
For those of you unfamiliar with Southeastern Oregon, it’s an almost alien landscape of ancient volcanic rocks, arid and cracking soil, sagebrush, western red cedar, and the ever present invasive cheatgrass. Thus far, the weather has been gorgeous sunny days, and cool calm nights. The vistas and landscapes seem to stretch on forever in every direction, and the uniqueness of the terrain is hard to put into words.
Overall, I was very impressed by the group of hard working, passionate, and knowledgeable natural resource professionals that I met today at the Emigrant Creek Ranger Station and Burns BLM Office, and I look forward to prying their brains for more about the area as I settle into my CLM role.