Considering Next Steps

I’m missing the field season these days. Although I feel lucky to have had my internship extended and the opportunity to further my knowledge of things like GIS and NEPA, it’s hard not to feel antsy after a summer of intense activity. Soon, the field office will begin planning for the 2018 field season, and I’ll begin to uproot my lifestyle and move on to the next one. My daydreams of wandering around Wyoming’s public lands will dwell as I zone out to aerial images from 1976 that need to be georeferenced.

The Thanksgiving holiday was a nice break. I traveled from Wyoming to the Pacific coast of Washington where I was reminded how dark canopies can make the forest floor, the smell of wet soil, and what precipitation feels like. Hiking in Deception Pass State Park reignited my interest in ecosystem diversity and forest ecology. I am now a firm believer in the importance of stepping away from your (temporary) home to gain some perspective. Although I’ve managed to travel a fair amount during my time in Wyoming, pushing yourself out of your element, or back into your element after stepping away for a while, serves as an excellent reminder that no matter where in the world you are, there’s still more world out there.

Viewpoint off a Washington beach in Deception Pass State Park.

Deception Pass State Park bridge.

In a few weeks, I’ll be off to new places. I’m not sure where yet. Reading some of the other CLM blog posts feels discouraging. Complaints of not finding another job to move on to or applying to graduate school as a result of not having other options seems all too common in environmental and botanical fields. I am also pondering the thought of graduate school, only to shrug and put the thought away. There are seasonal opportunities in warmer climates where plants continue to bloom through the winter, but it seems to be competitive for a full-time permanent position in a generation where people are arguably over-educated, a graduate degree might be necessary in this field. Please somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

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