July in Buffalo: the seed collections begin!

Since my last blog post, the weeks have become a whirlwind of work! I have really started focusing on SOS, and figuring out how to determine seed readiness and collection strategies. I think the biggest challenge so far has been adjusting to the level of variety in the work, as collections for virtually every plant species is performed differently. It has been helpful to have resources like the SOS flickr page that showcases past collections, as well as the office’s own data files from past SOS interns, but overall it appears that most of my job is learned in the field and as I go.

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Gaillardia aristata– one of the populations that I will (hopefully!) be collecting sometime this week

During the first part of this month, myself and the office’s two range interns, Jade and Sara, performed the first seed collections of the season! This first collection was Needle and Thread grass. It definitely was a learning experience, as on the day of the collection we found that much of the seed had actually dropped over the weekend. 🙁 We collected what we could, but overall it was a lot less productive than what I was planning for. But like I said, I’m finding that a lot of my job is “learn-as-you-go”. Plants definitely work on their own schedule, which means that monitoring populations for readiness requires a lot of travel to-and-from the office and a healthy amount of estimation. That being said, the next week was a lot more productive as far as seed collecting! With the help of Jade and Sara, three more collections were performed all in ONE day (& all in the same allotment thankfully!) Bluebunch Wheatgrass, Lewis Flax, and a boatload of Miner’s Candle (~120,000 seed)…shout out to Sara for her enthusiasm for collecting Miner’s Candle! Just this week, I have sent out the shipment to Bend of these species and continue to monitor other populations I have found. Hopefully all goes well in processing the collected seed!

On a personal note, over the Fourth of July weekend, myself and some of the other interns made a road trip to Yellowstone, Jackson WY and the Tetons. This was my first trip out to this area, and I had a blast! We spent four nights camping in the area and sightseeing during the day. It was exhausting to say the least, but we saw so much wildlife during these four days including elk, pronghorn, bear (grizzly and black), mule and white-tail deer and even a moose! I’d say our time in the Tetons was definitely my favorite part of the trip, and I’m already dying to get back there to explore more trails and sites!!

Our view of the Tetons from our campsite over the fourth of July weekend.

Our view of the Tetons from our campsite over the fourth of July weekend.

A bear we came across in Yellowstone one early morning.

A bear we came across in Yellowstone one early morning.


Buffalo Field Office, WY



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