My CLM internship in Cedarville, CA has come to an end. It has been a very enjoyable and educational 7 months spend with the BLM Surprise Field Office. Moving to northern California was definitely a change and provided me a great opportunity to learn a lot.
One of the first things that was a major change was the town itself. It is a small town consisting of only 500 people and one of everything….one grocery store, one gas station, one bar, and so on. It took a while to get used to the idea that Wal-Mart was 2 hours away and in a different state. Because of this fact, excursions to the store involved some planning. However, needing to get groceries gave me the perfect opportunity to do some exploring of nearby nature. During 2 separate trips to the store, my co-intern and I were able to explore Lava Beds National Monument and Crater Lake National Park.
Another thing that was a major change and an opportunity to learn new skills was the fact that I was now living and working in a whole new ecosystem. Coming from the Midwest to here I had to learn a whole new set of plants. Luckily, I was able to learn the predominant species fairy quickly. It is really neat to see how plants are adapted to living in this area and compare that to how plants in my area adapted to living there. While the 2 ecosystems are vastly different, they each have their own special qualities.
While working in my office I also had a chance to work on a variety of projects. I had a chance to work on wildlife, botany, archaeology, and range projects. It really was a great opportunity to help narrow down my career goals. It also gave me experience working within the federal government. It helped me to understand the process and why things are done the way they are. This will help me easily transition into another office.
I greatly enjoyed my CLM internship and the experience and knowledge that came with it. I would definitely suggest this internship to anybody thinking about working in the federal government. It is a great way to earn valuable experience, network with professionals in the field, and possibly experience a different ecosystem then they are used to.