One of the best things about having a GIS-based internship is that it’s such a widely used program nowadays that I’ve been at least minimally exposed to what every department does here in the BLM Rock Springs Field Office. Officially I’m here to work on updating and restructuring the GIS database, which I often liken to cleaning out and elderly relative’s attic: there’s tons of stuff, you’re often not quite sure what it is, and you’re constantly uncovering fascinating tidbits of information. There’s no such thing as a “typical” day in this process–the majority of my time is spent asking questions, rearranging and renaming data, hunting down layers from other agencies, and updating, editing, and creating new data where we have gaps. So far I would say the take home message for me has been to always write metadata (records of what information is, who made it, when, how, etc.) for any GIS data I produce in the future. Here’s a great website if you want to know why it’s just about the greatest invention since sliced bread: http://geology.usgs.gov/tools/metadata/tools/doc/faq.html
A few days a week I get to go out into the field to get my hands dirty, literally:
This was on a (very sappy) White Bark Pine (Pinus albicaulis) pine cone collecting trip with Victor Biasotti–a former two-time CLM intern for the Seeds of Success program who’s currently working directly for the BLM.
Using a GPS in the Adobtown Wilderness Study Area on a field trip with the Minerals and Lands Department:
Discovering Wild Blue Rye (Elymus glaucus) on a scouting expedition in the Bridger National Forest:
Unfortunately the seeds weren’t ripe and we got frosted on, but the scenery was spectacular on the 8-mile hike in—we saw two moose, sand hill cranes, Clark’s Nutcrackers, and at 9,200 feet above sea level, breath-taking views, especially at our campsite (below):
This internship has been an amazing experience to date and I look forward to seeing what adventures my last month and a half has in store!
Aiko Weverka, BLM, Rock Springs, WY