The autumnal chill in the air is a sure sign that the field season is coming to a close. Thus, this is my last blog post from my internship in Farmington, NM. My co-intern finished last week so it’s just me for the next few weeks. Although today is the last official day of my CLM internship, I will be staying on for a few extra weeks as a volunteer to help whip our herbarium into shape and possibly assist with some other ecological monitoring around the office. We are working to wrap up our season and will be finishing up our last SOS collection next week, which should bring our total to 32 SOS Collections for this season. It may not sound like a lot to some, but I consider each one of those collections a hard-won victory due to the continuing drought in Northwest New Mexico.
This internship has greatly improved my plant identification skills. Although I completed some botany coursework in college, this internship was a place to put what I learned in school to use and expand greatly upon those skills. Back in Massachusetts, I spent a great deal of time studying trees, only to work in a place where there are very few trees. Although I struggled at first, I think I truly rose to the challenge and learned a lot along the way.
I will definitely come away from this internship with a greater appreciation for the desert! It’s incredible how everything just comes alive after the slightest bit of rain. I will miss the enormous skies and beautiful landscapes I’ve been privileged to work in and visit this field season. The Four Corners region is an incredibly diverse and special place.
I would like to thank the folks at the BLM Farmington Field Office for a wonderful season. I was made to feel welcome here and like a member of the team. The biggest thanks go to my wonderful mentor, Sheila Williams. She took me under her wing and showed me the ways of a botany ninja, as well as gave me a candid look at what working for the federal government would be like. An additional thanks to Hannah, my CLM sister and buddy throughout the internship. She dealt with my eccentricities way more than anyone should have to and was a joy to work with.
After I leave the Land of Enchantment next month, I will be headed for South Florida to enjoy a warm winter and (hopefully) find more fieldwork. We’ll see what the future has in store for me.