An Unexpected Delight

While traveling to Lander, WY from Iowa, I pondered the changes I would have to make. Would there be places I can eat out at being vegan? Would there be supplies such as tofu and soy sauce? What outside activities does the area offer? I honestly was terrified moving to an unfamiliar area. After crossing the Wyoming-Nebraska, this fear slowly faded. The scenery was beyond gorgeous. The mountains and pine-filled ridges drew my attention and filled my with awe. The adventure ahead was suddenly super exciting.

Arriving a few days before my internship started allowed me to explore Lander. I quickly went to the store to assess their products. Being vegan was possible! I stocked up on any supplies I’d need to make lunches and dinners for the week. Afterwards I took a stroll down the main street. Much to my surprise, Lander had quite a lot to offer for being a small city. One of the most exciting finds was a coffee shop containing a bouldering wall! The last exploring I did was walking a trail along the Popo Agie River (I still do have no idea how to say it even after asking my mentor and my roommate asking locals). The scenery was beautiful and I even found a few Mallards wading within the rapidly flowing water.

Mountain ridge beyond the Popo Agie River

Mallards in the Popo Agie River

Well, enough with my first impressions of Lander. Let’s move on to my first week!

My first week has not come without many challenges. From getting my background check done, doing required training without having access to the government computers, and weather preventing days in the field (Snow is falling outside as I write). I did have the pleasure of seeing where I will be doing my rangeland monitoring work for a few hours before the roads we were on became too bad to continue driving on (It had rained the day before). The allotment was beautiful, though I have a feeling it will take some time to get acquainted with the unmarked two-track roads. I had the pleasure of bringing a plant back to the office to key out. Turned out it was Astragalus pectinatus (Narrowleaf milkvetch) which another mentor had not found before. Otherwise, I have spent time getting to know the other employees in the office, filing away bills and correspondence, watching videos on vegetation sampling, and completing CPR and first aid training. The next week should entail structural repairs within allotments. I’m excited to be in the field more often and to spend some time on other projects.

– James Noyama
Bureau of Land Management – Lander Field Office                                                 Lander, Wyoming

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