The Mountains, the Desert, and the Forests

My internship has already been incredibly informative and a second doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something new. For example, take this shoe tree:

Shoe trees are native to the Oregon desert and are actually propagating extremely well.

Justin (other CLM intern) and I have been an incredibly productive team the past few weeks, establishing new ES&R monitoring plots, creating GIS maps, monitoring sensitive plants (we watch what we say as to not hurt their feelings 😉 ) and evaluating fire conditions based on sage samples.

Forest just North of John Day rises out of the desert and creates islands of trees.

We have seen a majority of the Burns BLM district and the uniqueness of the district ranges from the forests in the North, the mountains in the South, to the desert in the middle where our home base is located.

Wild Kiger Mustangs rome much of the range in herd management areas in the Burns BLM district.

I have taken the opportunity to explore many of the backroads throughout the district in my downtime and it is fascinating how slight elevation changes leading to more or less precipitation can create such dramatic changes in the many ecosystems in Oregon. Just driving directly North from Burns toward John Day and further toward the Columbia River Basin, the desert and upland forests alternate the whole way, as if they were placed that way on a checkerboard.

Overall, I am enjoying my time in Hines with my wild land firefighter housemates and the local scene in Burns. As this week draws to a close, I am becoming more and more excited to attend the CLM conference at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I can’t wait to meet other interns and to exchange stories and knowledge about their internship experiences.

The desert boasts its challenges and rewards.

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