Last month has, once again, flown by. Our goal for the season is 20 collections and today we sent 20 full collections off to Bend, which I am personally proud of! When I started the seemingly daunting task of being the lone SOS intern for the Lander Field Office, I had some serious doubts about reaching my goal. But with two months left and an entire field office of shrubs to collect, I am positive I will be able to exceed my goal.
I spent a good part of the past month trying to get my sages straight and going a little sage crazy trying to field ID mountain big sage and Wyoming big sage. My sage advice about identifying sagebrush is have confidence in your initial ID, then get a black light and hope for the best.
As most of my forbs have seeded out and have already been collected and shipped off to Bend and my shrubs are still reveling in the in the fall colors of the mountains, I have come to a lull in my usual all-encompassing seed collecting work day. This seeding downtime has given me the opportunity to expand my horizons and get more diverse field work experience. I have been able to go to an elk and moose refuge and measure utilization (much to my chagrin zero elk or moose were spotted), visit a few allotments and help get sage grouse coverage transects done, and have even pulled out my crayons and gotten some utilization mapping under my belt. With every new task I am able to explore more nooks and crannies of the enormous Lander Field Office and to gain new perspectives and a more holistic view of what the BLM does and how it operates with the public.
I have been in Lander for 4 months and have 2 months left. I am still getting a lot of work done, have a lot more to do, and am still gaining new and valuable experiences almost every day. As my end looms in the horizon I find myself trying to plan for the long winter and keeping my fingers crossed for a big girl job. There is no doubt in my mind that the experience I have gained from my CLM internship at the Lander BLM will give me a competitive edge.
Untill Next Time,
Emily Usher, Lander Field Office