The moment I saw the big wooden sign for the Lakeview BLM district I cheered for joy. I am just nine days into my Seeds of Success position here in south central Oregon but every one of them has proven educational, rewarding and FUN! Last week I began the challenging task of learning the flora in this gorgeous sea of sagebrush. Most of the plants here are new to me but I’ve come across some favorites like phlox and collinsia while assisting in botany clearances for new fences, road bulldozing and pond digging. The weather has been surprisingly cold with many nights last week around freezing, accompanied by snow, sleet, and grapple (a new phenomenon for me). Now things are warming up to near 90°F and the threat of fire is increasing. The desert is indeed an extreme ecosystem.
I just returned from Boise, ID where I was invited to attend the SOS protocol training. Some of the most valuable information shared was the result of many long hours of work with very disappointing ends, such as the seeds that molded or were grazed just before collecting. We learned that mapping collection sites and making the data available are crucial to ensuring a diverse native seed collection in the future. My mentor Ian and I now have a great knowledge of the program and can begin planning our seed collecting efforts. The highlights include a private tour of the Boise Botanical Garden and visiting the Malheur Experiment Station in Ontario, OR where they grow out native seed under varying conditions of irrigation and weed treatments. Seeing the production side of native seed motivates me to make great collections so more seed is available for grow out studies like these. The science learned can then increase the success of actual reseeding.
We have found populations of Lupinus polyphyllus and Phlox diffusa that look healthy now, but nothing is certain until the seed is in your hands.
BLM Lakeview, OR