And That’s a Wrap

A couple of weeks ago, one of our bosses stopped by our desk and told us about a project out near Beatty Creek that he’s working on to assess tree density as justification for instituting thinning/controlled burns. Obviously we jumped at the chance to survey plots out there; we had been out there before and knew that Beatty Creek is beautiful–very steep, but beautiful nonetheless.

We were not disappointed.

Also, my calves hurt.

(I should probably do some stretches)

Beatty Creek area and our data points


It became obvious pretty early on that the area was overstocked with trees– mostly Pinus jeffreyi, which is a high altitude species that competes best on the serpentine soils that other trees seem to shun. One plot had as many as 127 Jeffrey pine larger than 2-inch dbh! Such numbers, as we’ve been told, indicate that the area is overstocked and likely to burn up should a wildfire come through.

Some other exciting things we saw:


A cool giant boulder straight out of the Lion King


A mountain of gravel probably belonging to the rock quarry who shares roads with the BLM


Various dramatic views

Totally majestic.

Acer macrophyllum changing colors

  • Notholithocarpus densiflorus (tanoak), which is a species of evergreen oak (I’m a big fan of evergreen oaks) that we hadn’t seen for a while

    Many, many snakes, including a rattlesnake who didn’t seem to appreciate our presence very much

                                                                                                                                     I’d just like to reiterate that my calves hurt. A lot. But it was so worth it.

 (Warning: I’m about to be very sappy and poetic–but what can I say, I was an English minor!)

I didn’t know until I came to Oregon that it was possible to find so much beauty in a place. It dozes among the yellow swells of grass savannahs that fuse with cloudless skies. It buries itself in the thick tide of fog rolling over murky evergreen forests. It’s even contained in the lovely pastel-colored mushroom you discovered on a rainy day–you know, the one that your boss told you not to eat. The one that you didn’t eat because it could give you diarrhea and possibly kill you. Unfortunately.

Working with the BLM in Oregon has taught me more than I could have ever hoped. It’s given me a whole set of skills critical to becoming the crazy botanist I aspire to be: the ability to work ArcGIS, the overwhelming urge to identify every strange plant I almost step on, possibly better balance and coordination (I haven’t fallen down a hillside for at least a week), and, above all, a great appreciation for the beauty of nature.


Thank you.

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