Beginnings in Bountiful and Beautiful Buffalo, WY!

This place is gorgeous!

Some might say it’s small and a bore. All that means is there’s more to explore. So spend your money on great food and gas, and keep driving that motor home right on past. (Working on my hokey rhymes!)

Driving from good ol’ Tennessee, I thought I’d be lonesome in the expansive fields of crops our nation’s farmers tend. Experience is quite the opposite! Blaring whatever my car’s AM/FM radio would pick up (rock, pop, country, and NPR), I toted my belongings right along. Most of my trip’s action was surprisingly in South Dakota where I saw the world’s only corn palace, the highly advertised Wall Drug, and Badlands National Park with all its beauty and wildlife. All this to crest over a Wyoming town and see the ice-capped skyline of the Bighorns. This was my first driving view of the western mountains, and man, did I feel small?

I’ve been here for 2 weeks now, and making my way in Buffalo has been a smooth transition. My mentor, the other interns, the entire BLM staff, some NFS staff, and other locals have been more than friendly. Smiles and “good mornings” make it sound cheesy, but try staying grumpy when your time off has so much potential between the active townspeople and the Bighorn mountains (maybe 5 miles away).

The first week was filled with documentation, government approval, and a quick outing. The second week, however, we’ve really hit the field as Range interns . Being in a new environment, I feel I’m relearning some of my plant identification. TN’s got its trees and mosses, and WY’s got its grasses and sagebrush. Spending time training in the field has exposed me to a new ecosystem, one in which cattle and sheep have been utilized as factors for land use and preservation. In running through protocols, we’ve begun to develop an understanding of what our role, through BLM, is in monitoring and managing land use.

Soon, myself and fellow interns will be cut loose to conduct our work. Looking forward to a great internship in Buffalo, WY!

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