I fondly remember how I packed my little blue car full of all of my belongs and traveled almost 2,000 miles from Georgia to Colorado. I finished my internship in late December. I am proud to say that I have been a Conservation and Land Management intern for 1 year and 7 months at the Bureau of Land Management Colorado State Office where I worked for Dr. Carol Dawson. I learned so much during my time here in Colorado. The CLM program is the best opportunity for recent college graduates interested in gaining experience in botany and wildlife conservation and land management.
My first field season in Colorado was a whirlwind of excitement. I enjoyed working with such an amazing team: Carol, Dr. Peter Gordon, and Sama Winder. With the help of Carol and Peter, we were able to expand our Colorado flora knowledge – and even fauna. During my second field season, I had the great opportunity to become lead intern of our team with Katherine Wenzell – who was always willing to be a team player. I was able to share my experiences and contribute my knowledge as a second year intern. I feel lucky to have had Carol as my mentor – she truly is the best. I am very thankful and grateful to have earned this opportunity. Overall, I have learned a lot about myself and who I am, I have become a stronger person and better botanist, and learned how to welcome the unknown and celebrate the feeling of leaving all things familiar to embark on a new journey.
There were many projects that I was involved in during my internship including outreach environment activities, seed collecting, vegetation surveys, rare and endangered plant monitoring and assessment projects, and plenty of retirement parties (it’s always fun to support those around the office…and eat cake!). I’m excited about all of the friends that I have made. I am sure I will continue to stay in contact with many of them. During my free time, I joined a Denver kickball team, learned how to ski, dined at Denver’s best restaurants, became a volunteer at the Denver Botanic Gardens, hiked part of Mt. Evans (literally), attended some pretty awesome concerts at Red Rocks, and visited the X-Games in Aspen.
To mention a few exciting events happening after my internship, I accepted a full-time, permanent position within the government working in a forensic laboratory in Denver. I’ve been happy to learn more about botany and wildlife biology; however, I am looking forward to getting back to working in a lab and becoming more directly involved in research. It’s been a fun and educational experience. Thank you to Chicago Botanic Garden and past employees – Krissa, Wes, and Marian. You are the best. Thank you again to everyone who supported me, the great friends that I have made, and I look forward to the new chapter of my life.
If you find yourself in Denver, I’m sure I’ll be see you around!
BLM Colorado State Office