The plants in Escalante have finally started seeding! The spring showers brought a flood
of blooming flowers. Nelson’s Globemallow (Sphaeralcea parvifolia), is one of my favorite plants that my co-intern Elise and I are collecting. The Hopi Indians used this plant for multiple purposes, some of which include curing sores, cuts, and wounds (Colton 1974). I even found a rare white S. parvifolia! Another fun
plant that we have to collect is Indian Rice Grass (Achnatherum hymenoides). Apache Indians used this plant to make bread (Reagan 1929) and it is an important plant for cattle grazing (Ogle et al. 2013).
Besides seed collecting, I also joined the wildlife biologist for the Forest Service, Lisa Young, and the wildlife biologist for the BLM, Terry Tolbert, when they went bat trapping! We traveled to the Last Chance wash near Lake Powell and set up two, thirty foot
high nets above the creek. When the bats swooped down to drink water, they would get caught in the nets. Terry and Lisa would then go untangle the bats and then collect data on them. Data collection included identification, tarsus measurements, wingspan, and weight. After the data was collected on a bat, they were then released.
Terry has also been showing Elise and me how to rope lizards. We take simple fishing polls, string them with fly fishing string, make a loop at the end and then the hunt begins! After hunting in the hot desert sun, searching under sage brush and cliff rose, it is
most satisfying to catch a lizard. The lizards we catch are
measured from snout to anus and then from snout to the tip of their tail. After the lizards are weighed, they are released and a GPS coordinate is taken so we can estimate their range of habitat.
This internship has so far allowed me to expand my knowledge of plants and has given me the opportunity to work with wildlife. I cannot wait to see what else my time in Escalante will bring!