Botanizing in the Desert

Hi everybody!

I am interning at the BLM office out of Richfield, Utah. I am constantly amazed by the geological formations and the wildlife of this state, everyday I learn or see something new. Just in the past 4 weeks in the field I have seen so much wildlife in action: a golden eagle with a rabbit hanging from its feet, I have driven next to galloping pronghorn antelope, viewed elk from afar, caught horned lizards, avoided catching collared lizards and so much more. It is one adventure after another in this seemingly endless country.

I am pleased to say that the internship so far has consisted of a lot of field work. For the past few weeks we have been monitoring rare Sclerocactus and Pediocactus species in the hopes of understanding the effects of cattle grazing on their populations. One of the reasons why I enjoy getting out into the field is because I can simultaneously learn the local flora. It is very interesting to me, coming from the temperate rain forest of Northern California where everything is trying to compete for the sun, everything out here is trying to get protection from the sun. Plants in the Utah desert are hairier, dwarfed, and have at least some succulence. It’s fascinating what plants will do to thrive in harsh conditions.

There have been a lot of “firsts” for me in my personal life: first time living outside of California, first time moving to a new place by myself (without the help of family/friends), and first time living out of a tent. When I first arrived in Utah I decided to do a work trade (chores in return for free camping) at this funky little place called Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah. The good thing about camping here is that after work I got to soak in these beautiful hot springs but the down side was the weather; below freezing temperatures, rain and gusty winds. I lasted 3 weeks before I caved in and got an apartment but it was an experience I will never forget.

I am looking forward to all of the things I will see in the following weeks.

Until next time,


Richfiled, Utah BLM

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