For the last few weeks Payton and I have been monitoring the main priority species for the Nevada USFS and that is Erigeron speciosus, otherwise known as Showy Fleabane. We hope to collect from at least 10 different populations so the Forest Service geneticist can obtain a clear picture of biodiversity withing the species. After we collect enough seed from these populations (crossing my fingers), we will begin to scout for other wide-ranging species for restoration efforts.
The beginning of this post doesn’t seem like time is against us, but I haven’t really got into the shenanigans that Payton and I have been up to these past few weeks… we are currently on our third USFS government vehicle. The first one… well the side passenger mirror got taken clear off (I won’t get into much about that). The second… we got struck by an oncoming vehicle at a major intersection. We hope that third trucks a charm right?
Once we got back out in the field with our third truck, E. speciosus fruit was still not mature and most of the plants had yet to desiccate and form seed (seen in first picture). Our wait for these populations to mature was not wasted! We were invited by our mentor and another employee of the USFS to visit the Bridgeport district in California. The elevation increased by about 2000 ft and we felt the effects quite strongly. Fatigued and fighting gnarly headaches, we still trudged through squishy meadows looking for Yosemite toads, either as tadpoles or in their first year. I enjoyed looking for something that has legs!