It’s the last few weeks of our internship here at the Bureau of Land Management’s Eagle Lake Field Office and our work in the field is starting to wrap up. Lately, we have been focusing on collecting fall-maturing shrubs to use in a restoration project for a fire that burned a large chunk of our field office earlier this year. One of the plants that we collected – four-wing saltbrush – still had a bit of moisture in their seeds when we collected them, which has meant that our small office has turned into a makeshift seed drying chamber. For the past week or so, we have had seeds laid out on all vacant surfaces on our desks. To be honest, the seeds smell a little funky and have a fair amount of bugs in them that have been escaping and finding their way into all the corners of the office before keeling over. On a more positive note, the seeds have been a great conversation starter. Many people in the office do not understand fully what we Seeds of Success interns do all summer, and giant piles of seeds stinking up their office make very good teaching moments. #botany
This past weekend, I took a little day-trip down to Reno to do some mountain biking around the area and visit the art museum. Wow such wow, the mountain biking was amazing. I have really been wanting to mountain bike through the sagebrush steppe this whole summer and I finally got to do it! It was actually very hard to focus because I kept wanting to botanize over all the lovely desert plants around me while I was careening around bermed turns. The Reno Art Museum had some very lovely pieces, many of which focused on the vastness and sublimity of the west’s deserts and open spaces. It’s always very interesting to see how artistic depictions of natural spaces intersect with and sometimes contradict scientific interpretations. Also, they had an entire room whose walls were covered in paper made from chocolate. It smelled so good!
I am starting to get very sad about leaving Susanville. I was not expecting to make so many good friends in the community here. When I was headed out here, everyone just talked about how isolated and small this town was, but really it has been anything but! It has been really nice to put enough roots down that I can go to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings and recognize a fair amount of the faces. Having to leave here after only 5 months is getting me sort of bummed out about living the seasonal field biologist lifestyle for too much longer. I am sure that my next seasonal position will take me to another amazing part of the country, but it just makes me sad that I have to leave a place as soon as it starts to feel like home.
-Jake Nash, Eagle Lake Field Office, Susanville, CA