I have been working here at the Medford District BLM for just over 9 months now and my appointment is rapidly approaching its end. I am saddened to be leaving, but with the weather becoming so nasty and the fact that the plants in the Rogue Valley are dying and going into dormancy, there wouldn’t be much for me to do even if I could stay.
The past few weeks have been slowing down. I have been doing a lot of wrap up data entry and tying up loose ends here in the office. There is a good chance I will be coming back next season which will be nice seeing as how I feel I really got the hang of this job and I know I will be able to hit the ground running early next spring. Because of this potential in a renewed appointment, we have been loosely framing a plan of action for the 2015 collecting season. I recently mapped over 12 years of Seeds of Success collections for my district and this proved to be insightful in terms of visually assessing what areas have and haven’t been targeted and hit hard with collections. For this future collecting season we are going to target areas that have had little to no collections made, many which are located in the Illinois River Valley and along the Wild and Scenic stretch of the Rogue River. This will be a great opportunity to explore new territories that are not so easily accessed and focus on rare and endemic serpentine plants.
Prior to this internship, my botanical knowledge was very much lacking. Building a strong foundation of botany over the past 9 months has truly reshaped my interpretation of ecology. It appears I have been approaching environmental settings with a major piece of the puzzle missing, and now that I have established this understanding, I can view ecosystem in a whole new cohesive light.
I am very grateful for this opportunity I have been granted with and I look forward to next year where I will be able to expand and fine tune my new skill set. I leave you now with a few highlight photos of this field season.