Animals Move, Plants Don’t!

Photo of Dinosaur National Monument: which is located in the Northwest section of The White River Field Office

The past year of my life I have called many places home: (Chicago IL, San Jose Costa Rica, Portland OR). But now I am happy to call Meeker, Colorado my new home for the next five months. The rolling hills and mountains of Western Colorado are a spectacle. As well as the flora and fauna that call this place home.

After 3 weeks of working for the White River Field Office I have seen a plethora of wildlife. Although my internship will shift towards plant identification in the future, these past weeks I assisted wildlife biologists in monitoring rare animal populations. The three species monitored were: ferruginous hawks, midget faded rattlesnakes, and most notably sage grouse. My professional background is primarily in botany, so it has been beneficial for me to learn how to monitor animals. I have also discovered how difficult it can be to find the specific species you are looking for. Animals move, and plants don’t! We have gone out into the field many days and found a variety of animals, but not the animal population we were looking for. For example, when our crew went looking midget faded rattlesnakes we found bull and garter snakes instead…


Baby Bull Snake Slithering to Safety in Rangely Rock Crawling Park


A new set of skills I am learning is how to navigate and travel in remote locations. By means of driving on ill-maintained dirt roads, and hiking for miles on the steppe slopes. The materials used to navigate are: paper maps, GPS units, and compasses. A little bit of old school and new technology.

This following work week I will attend AIM (Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring) training in Grand Junction CO with my co-workers to grasp how to work as a team to collect AIM data on BLM lands. I am excited for hands on learning, and to see what our data collection means as a whole to the Bureau of Land Management.

-Isaac Pederson

White River Field Office


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