It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but I have now been living and working in Idaho for just over a month. I work in the Shoshone Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management as a range tech intern along with three other CBG interns and two crew leads. We don’t really have range (as far as I know) east of the Mississippi so I’m excited to learn more! Right now that means we are monitoring ground cover to learn more about sage grouse habitat, but next week we’ll wrap that up and move on to other projects. I’m particularly excited about going out with Idaho Fish and Game to look at insects and plant clearances (looking for sensitive plant species).
The landscape and climate is dramatically different from the hot, humid, and patchy forests of Southeastern Virginia where I worked before. I am still amazed at how far you can see here without hills, trees, or buildings to interrupt the view. It felt strange at first, but the incredible views and tiny wildflowers are winning me over.
So far I’ve learned a lot! The first week or two included training in some important skills including first aid, defensive driving, changing a tire and how to recognize hazardous materials that might explode or kill you. Best of all though, I’ve picked up all kinds of useful information about the local flora and botany, more generally just from being surrounded by people who are excited about plants every day!