Hello from Carson City NV!

“I bet you’re really wondering what you’ve gotten yourself into.”

People have been saying this to me a lot during my first week as an intern with the BLM in Carson City, and I’d say they’re pretty much spot on with that assessment.  They’re mostly referring to the uncertainty that’s followed in the wake of recent events in Oregon. But I’ll be working here in an unknown place for the next ten months, so “what I’ve gotten myself into” is a question that I’d already been pondering anyways. It’s been a rather hectic first week here, and my fellow interns and I have already learned that our plans can be changed by events outside of our control.  So – what have I gotten myself into?

I arrived here in Carson City on Sunday after spending the better part of a week driving across the country from Pennsylvania.  The next day was my first day at the field office, so my fellow interns, Alec, Monique, and Margaret, gave me a tour of the place.  My first day mostly was filled with meetings and paperwork and training videos.  Now don’t get me wrong, all of those things are great – but the part of my job I’m really looking forward to is the time spent outside among natural scenery.  So, Tuesday was a bit more interesting in that regard.

One of the major tasks that our group is undertaking at the beginning of this field season is the restoration of the former site of the American Flat Mill.  This mill processed silver and gold during the 1920’s, but was subsequently abandoned.  When it was demolished a couple of years ago, a barren field was left behind.  Now it’s the task of our crew to plant native seeds in this area, in the hopes of preventing noxious weeds from claiming the land. We spent Tuesday morning mixing seeds from different plant species together, and after lunch we drove to the site to begin planting.

Dividing up the seeds.

Dividing up the seeds.

Native sagebrush will be sprouting up here in no time!

Native sagebrush will be sprouting up here in no time!

We’d also planned to head back out into the field the following two days, but Tuesday night’s events in Oregon forced us to change our plans.  It was decided that we would be safer if we didn’t go out to our field sites for the rest of the week, so we spent the time completing more training and orientation.  We also got a chance to visit the herbarium at UN-Reno.  For me, this just built up even more anticipation to dive into the ecosystems of the eastern Sierra Nevada and Great Basin and discover new plants – or at least plants that are new to me.  That’s what I’ll be doing as a BLM intern for the next ten months, and I couldn’t be more excited to find out what the future will hold!

Until next time,

Sam Scherneck

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