I have been fortunate enough to receive a funding extension here at the Cosumnes River Preserve where I have been stationed for the past several months. I came to California from Iowa as a CLM intern in May 2012 to work for the BLM at the Cosumnes River Preserve. I participated in SOS collections, and had a plethora of other tasks which included everything from plant identification to fixing the kitchen sink (literally) and everything in between. During my first term I was able to network with other CBG interns in my area and organized collecting trips where we were able to travel to do special seed collections. Collecting native seed in the mountains with a group of other well informed biologists is about as good as it gets for me. It was a great opportunity to network with fellow interns and combine resources for maximizing efficiency. A great time was had by all! When funding from the BLM for my position became constrained, I did go to work for The Nature Conservancy for a brief period last summer doing botanical surveys and data collection, but have gratefully re-joined the Chicago Botanical Garden once again.
I came back to work for the BLM in November 2013 as a CBG intern, and have taken on some new responsibilities. I will, hopefully, still be coordinating with other CBG interns at the field office and participating in some SOS seed collections during this coming growing season. I love spending time in the field, and SOS collections provide great opportunities to work outside. However, my primary responsibility here now will be doing some project management. I will be in charge of overseeing several restoration projects taking place here at the Preserve from start to finish. This will be an opportunity to learn the federal processes of permitting, bidding/contracting labor, using field restoration techniques, and evaluating project successes/failures, among other things.
Additionally, with all of the “cold” (California cold- 50’s) weather we have been experiencing, I have taken on several mapping projects. I love working on GIS projects. It is such a valuable tool in our field if you take the time to figure out how to use it. Many of the Preserve’s maps are out of date so I have been compiling data and updating these. I have also been out collecting data to create maps with information that has never before been displayed. The more GIS practice I can gain the better. There is so much we can learn through the use of this program. If you have ever used ArcMap and been frustrated, join the club, but don’t give up on it.
When I have not been busy with one of the restoration or mapping projects, I have been involved with several other fun ongoing activities at the Preserve. Every other Wednesday there is a bird survey to record how many birds are using the Preserve, and which units they are utilizing. This is always a fun and educational activity. There is also talk of a mountain lion study taking place here in the near future which I’m hoping to participate in. It seems like there is always something new here if you are looking to get involved. When I get a weekend with no plans, I like to head into the mountains. Several times last summer I backpacked in the South Warren Wilderness (northeast corner of CA), quite possibly the only place in California where you can still truly find solitude. On one trip I hiked for two days without encountering another human being. It was glorious! Included are some photos from South Warren-
Merry Christmas friends and co-workers!