As I reflect on my five months at the BLM office in Glasgow, Montana, a few main themes come to mind. The first is just how many amazing things I’ve been able to do. I’ve been involved in a variety of projects at work that have enhanced and increased my biology tool kit in a safe, open environment with very knowledgeable people. One of my favourite projects was helping out at the UL Bend Black-footed Ferret Recovery camp. BFFs are the most endangered mammal in NA and this is just one of many sites where they have been reintroduced. I helped trap ferrets and administer booster shots for the plague and canine distemper. All the trapping was done at night, and while it was tiring, sometimes monotonous work, to be able to help the recovery of such a sensitive species was a real joy. As an added bonus, the ferrets are very adorable!
Working at the BLM office also allowed me to interact with seasoned employees in other fields who were more than willing to answer my questions and take me out to see what they do. I was able to go to an archeological dig, help pull out salt cedar saplings from around a reservoir, do the rounds with our ranger, and stake the site for a new reservoir. Being Canadian, it was interesting to discover the various functions and goals of an American agency.
Working as a CLM intern allowed me to intimately experience another culture and landscape. Northeast Montana is unlike anywhere I’ve lived before and it was a lot of fun to immerse myself in the cowboy/small town culture. I met many wonderful people, including my landlady who in essence became my “Montana Mom”.
From the highway you get a sense of what NE Montana is like, but it was by driving all those back roads and hiking across the untouched prairie that the real magic and beauty was revealed. I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to be a CLM intern and for all the special memories I’ve gathered!