Seed Collecting Down South!

Last week I was given the task to go collect Black Brush seed from Joshua Tree National Park and Anzo-Borrego State Park. So with my fellow intern Laura, we headed out from Las Vegas at 5:00am last Wednesday morning with our seed collecting nets and bags. After the morning 5 hour drive, we arrived in Joshua Tree and entered through the north entrance to the GPS coordinates our Mentor gave us. Seed collecting is not our specialty for this internship with the USGS. In fact, this was only the second time all summer that I have done any seed collecting. So I was not accustomed to the disappointment of searching for seeds and being unsuccessful. After driving around for a while and eventually finding black brush with no seeds on it, we decided to collect some Joshua Tree seeds, since our mentor told us that that was a secondary priority of this expedition. Once we were finished with that, we decided that all of the black brush in the park had already dropped all of its seed, so we headed southwards to our next destination. The highway through the national park takes forever to drive through because of the low speed limit, so after another four hours, we reach the Anzo-Borrego State Park in southern California. After this experience of searching for plants with seeds for hours and coming up completely empty handed, I really feel for the rest of my fellow CLMers who are doing SOS! Back in April and May when we were doing our post-fire monitoring research, we never had to deal with not finding our plots or having nothing to show for our long hours spent out hiking through the desert. But on this day, we had no black brush seeds whatsoever. I have much respect for my colleagues that have this sort of luck regularly. I imagine it takes quite a bit of getting used to!  Anyways, after being unsuccessful, we drove back to Joshua Tree National Park and camped there at one of the few open campsites. In the morning, we broke camp at 6:00am and began our drive back to Vegas. While passing through the Mohave National Preserve, We stumbled upon black brush that still had seeds on them! So as it began to rain pretty hard on us, we quickly hopped out and did a collection! With our spirits much higher now, having some seeds to show for our journey, we made our way back to the office as happy interns! This was a good experience for me to continue to practice seed collecting, as I foresee using this skill in my future, and it was a great way to get a break from the normal data entry/analysis work that we have been doing regularly lately.

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