A Race to the Finish with Winter on its Way

Hi all!

So good news! We made our target collection number!

We were definitely feeling a bit downhearted when at the end of the second to last weekend of September, we hadn’t managed to make a single collection all week. We spent a cold night at 10,500 feet, in a tent with a broken zipper. We searched and searched, dropping 60 scouting points on the tablet in a matter of days, but couldn’t manage to find a population large enough or mature enough to collect.

We didn’t find seeds this day, but we did find some great scenery.

Then finally, in the 11th hour, we decided to check a Hymenoxys richardsonii population that we had scouted out earlier in the season, and by some grand gesture of grace by the universe, it was ready in force. We collected it eagerly, and finished up just as the sun dipped below the horizon.

Perfect timing! Just as we finished up with the collection, the sun went down.

Our campsite was very picturesque. Little did I know the freezing cold that awaited us come nightfall….

Unfortunately, my tent zipper broke, so in desperation I ventured forth from my somewhat warm sleeping bag, found some duct tape in the truck, and taped us in. Full disclosure: duct tape does not stick well when the temperature is near freezing.

The following week, our last chance to make our target number, we had considerably good luck. We decided to stop to check on a population of Rudbekia laciniata on our way back from an unsuccessful scouting trip, and found it ready to collect. We managed to make two more collections that week and ended it very proud.

In the first week of October, we made three collection, which had a positive effect on group moral. The week was not without problems however. We lost a lovely Fallugia paradoxa population when a construction crew smashed it, and another when the sides of a road were scraped flat.

One of the crispy looking sunflowers that we collected in early October

Then this week, we got off to a slow start due to forecasts calling for heavy rains and possibly snow. Tonight the temperature is supposed to dip to 20 degrees, not something that bodes well for people who are still hoping to work outside for another couple weeks. So instead, we sorted through some herbarium specimens in preparation for sending them off to the Smithsonian and the University of New Mexico down in Albuquerque.

We took advantage of the empty office on Columbus Day to sort through all our SOS collections and lay them in numerical order on the floor.

Our Southwest Seed Partnership collections, extra herbarium sheets, and some seeds labeled and ready to send out.

Looking ahead, we hope to keep collecting for a couple more weeks, but it looks like the weather might have other plans. I guess we’ll see! As it stands now though, the goal is to make as many collections as possible before lack of seeds and cold shut us down.

See you soon!


Seeds of Success Intern

BLM Field Office, Taos, NM


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