Seed Season

It’s week 4 of my internship with the BLM here in the beautiful Roseburg, Oregon and activities are in full swing! Seed collection season began just recently, and we (me and my co-intern, Mira) are kept busy by tracking down target plant species using previously recorded GPS data and determining if they are ready for seed collection. Not gonna lie, it’s probably one of my favorite things to do. I’ve gotten way better at reading maps, using GPS, and keying out inconspicuous-looking grasses—not to mention, I think I’m getting pretty great at driving the huge truck they let us use for field work. I’d just like to say that my appreciation for trucks has grown tenfold over the past month. Those things can drive over things that would probably destroy my little Altima. ArcGIS remains my greatest nemesis, but I’m confident that I’ll get better at it by the end of my five months. “Better” of course is a relative term, but let’s not dwell on that.

Bromus carinatus, one of the grasses we’ll be collecting seed from.

Calochortus coxii, one of our endemic plants.

Boss and co-intern looking out over the oak savanna as we prepare to trek down and remove invasive plants

Right now one of our bosses has us working on an awesome project to collect the seeds of plants that will help promote native pollinators in the North Bank Habitat Management Area. One thing I’ve come to learn throughout this is the truly fleeting nature of seed collection for many of the species we’re to collect. It all depends on the species and the location of the population; one week you can drive up a ridge and find a lovely almost-ripe population of Danthonia californica, and the next you can drive up to the same ridge and discover a sea of yellow husks! It’s certainly something that’s going to keep us on our toes for the rest of the season. If we’re going to collect enough seeds for the project, we’ll need to be out as often as possible hiking around and checking populations to determine readiness.

All in all, these past four weeks have been fantastic and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I’ve learned a truly impressive number of new plants and picked up a whole new set of skills. I’ve become braver in my nature explorations and seen many beautiful things. I think my klutziness may even be decreasing.

I honestly can’t wait for what the rest of my time here has to offer.


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