Branching Out

Eriogonum visheri

Work at the BLM continues to go well, with a few more seed collections in spite of the fact that the landscape is in transition to the hotter, drier season. Fire is starting to become a concern – which is hard to believe after this spring’s flooding! – but soon the fall plants will set seed so we can collect from those.
While in Miles City, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to experience several other botany -related activities, apart from my job. In late June my awesome mentor, Mel Schroeder, encouraged me and my co-intern to attend the MT Native Plant Society annual meeting in Ekalaka. That made for a very enjoyable and informative weekend; I got to do a rare plant survey of the native Visher’s buckwheat Eriogonum visheri, under the guidance of Scott Mincemoyer, botanist with the MT Natural Heritage program in Helena.
I have also spent two days helping out at the Special K Ranch, near Billings. Their mission is to provide a place for adults with developmental delays to learn life skills by working on the ranch raising livestock, growing bedding plants in the greenhouse, and caring for trees and shrubs in the nursery. I enjoyed transplanting some of the native plants, like sagebrush seedlings, that they are growing for revegetation.
Finally, I was in Glacier National Park for the July 4th weekend and stayed an extra day in order to participate in the Native Plant Nursery’s summer volunteer program. I helped transplant Oregon grape, rose, and other seedlings and helped weed some of the existing cells. It was fun meeting the employees and the other volunteers and sharing watermelon with them at lunchtime.
It’s hard to believe that my time in Miles City is halfway done; I am looking forward to all the things I will get to do and learn in the upcoming months!

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