What happened to September?

“Wake me up when September ends” would also be an appropriate title here, considering how quickly September flew by. I can hardly believe it’s October. September celebrated my 6th month out west, and brought some great memories.

I was lucky enough to spend Labor Day weekend exploring the wonders of Oregon. I met up with fellow CLMer Madie from the Arcata Field Office for a camping trip at Crater Lake NP. While much of our trip was smoky due to the various wildfires in and around the park, the experience is and will continue to be unforgettable. Pictures nor words could do it justice. Some of my favorite things included the bats that came out each night, our innovative kitchen tools, s’mores, and the views. I hope to make it back to Crater Lake when the lake formed by a volcanic collapse can be seen and when more flowers are in bloom. While camping at Diamond Lake in the Umpqua National Forest and spending time at the Crater Lake, wildfire threats were so very real; the last 2 days we saw many campers leave due to the threat/smoke and our amazing fire crews creating fire line and backfiring. While I’ve always been incredibly grateful for these men and women, my appreciation grew so much more. After a few discussions with a firefighter/Natural Resource Specialist in the office, getting my red card, and potentially serving on a crew is something I see in my future. Thank a firefighter, and always remember to be smart during fire season – and off season, too!

Crater Lake on the least smoky day!

Mount Bailey, Diamaond Lake, Umpqua National Forest. A typical day during our visit to the Umpqua National Forest and Crater Lake National Park

Chipmunk that decided that Madie and I couldn’t see it if it didn’t move

Plaikni Falls, Crater Lake, Oregon

The pinnacles at Crater Lake, OR; these super cool geologic features are fossil fumaroles. They were formed under sheets of volcanic pumice that preceded Mazama’s collapse. As the surface cooled over years, steam and gas were released from the hot rocks underneath by vents and tubes that were welded into cement by the passage of the steam and gas. These are the vents after years of erosion. Nature does some pretty cool things.

After spending the weekend at the lake, I detoured to Portland upon the recommendation of my mentor, to check out Powell’s and Voodoo Donuts. Both very much worth the 3 hour detour! I could spend the rest of my time in Powell’s and be extremely happy; it’s a huge bookstore (new and used) with just about everything you could think of. I snagged some books I’ve been wanting to get and ventured to Voodoo’s to try some of the best donuts I’ve had. I highly recommend the Mexican Hot Chocolate Donut!

My return to the office has been slow since many of the plants on my list have been collected, so I’ve embarked on office work. While I definitely enjoy my field work a thousand times more than being inside, I’ve gotten to do some cool things. Right now, I am (FINALLY) finishing up digitizing the office’s herbarium! It’s been tedious, and frustrating – no thanks to my computer for constantly crashing in the middle of saving a file – but, albeit rewarding. I’ve gotten to see some cool vouchers, and I’ve definitely gotten a sense of pride seeing my vouchers among the 700+ samples we have. I’ve also gotten to clean Silene spaldingii seed, another tedious and, at times, frustrating duty. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts Silene spaldingii is a federally listed plant, and with the help and permission of USFWS, we collected over 10,000 seeds from multiple sites (while not taking more than 10% of the seed population) which will be grown out and used in rehabilitation and reintroduction of Silene spaldingii to its native landscape.

That being said, I will take any opportunity to get out in the field when possible, which includes Interdisciplinary Team field trips to mining sites, timber sales, and land assessments (which have been truly invaluable; I’ve learned quite a lot); recreation site trash duty; cultural flagging for AVISTA linework on BLM property; and National Public Lands Day! NPLD was a lot of fun, our field office partnered with Washington Trails Association, Washington Mountaineers, and our local REI to build about 1.5 miles of new trail out at our Fishtrap Recreation Site! I always managed to find the 10 feet of basalt to build trail on, but it was worth all the trouble, especially knowing that more of this gorgeous country will be accessible to the public!

Next on my list of to-do’s in October include updating GeoBOB (a database for threatened and endangered species in OR/WA) with all the Silene spaldingii sites I set up and monitored this season, writing my final report, and whatever else fun projects may pop up. Our office Forester may have some opportunities for my to do some forestry work, which is really exciting because I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the mountains as I would have liked.

These last 5 weeks or so are definitely going to be cherished, I’ve loved working for the BLM and learning from so many different disciplines. I’m going to make sure I make the last bit of this internship as memorable as possible, in and out of the office.

Over and out,



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