In the past couple weeks of work, my crew and I finished training (yay!!) and have begun our work in the field! Our main task is to use the AIM monitoring methods to gather baseline data for new monitoring points in our field office. Our data will be used to inform future land use plans, especially focusing on sage grouse habitat. Every day we get to visit a new place in our field office, and it seems we encounter a neat new plant everywhere we go! A couple of my favorites: Opuntia polyacantha (plains prickly pear caci are flowering everywhere right now!) and Astragalus ceramicus (painted milkvetch, a fitting name for obvious reasons 🙂
We took a week to attend the CLM workshop, where I not only enjoyed meeting all of you other interns, but loved the amazing gardens we were able to wander through between sessions. A personal favorite was the arid greenhouse, filled with gigantic cacti.
Since coming back to Wyoming we’ve been working again on our AIM monitoring sites, but have also had time to explore new exciting places on our weekends. Even as a “local,” I’ve enjoyed discovering, or rediscovering, some gorgeous places in the Bighorn mountains, where the wildflowers are just starting to hit peak season. Below is an amazing meadow purple with lupine for miles, including the rare all-white lupine, one of the Seven Brothers lakes, and my personal favorite flower, Myosotis alpestris. I’m looking forward to what we find in the weeks to come!