Alien planet or Chihuahuan Desert?

July 30, 2018

Two weeks ago, I packed up my belongings and moved across the country from Illinois, where I have called home for most of my life. With my dad’s help I drove all the way to

Carlsbad, New Mexico to begin my internship. As we drove, I watched the landscape change from the lush greenery of the Midwest to the dry scrub of the desert. I found myself wondering what kind of desolate place I was going to be living in for the next five months. Truly, it felt like I had traveled to some kind of post-apocalyptic, dystopian world. Nothing like home.

In our first week of work, we hit the ground running and started collecting seeds. I have so many new plants to learn! Collecting seed is tough work, both mentally and

physically. Especially in 100 degree heat. But, it was rewarding to come back to the office with a pile of seeds after all that hard work. I was also impressed and surprised to

learn that there were so many different plant species in the area where we were collecting. Before, I just saw a bunch of scrubby plants and dirt. Now, when I look at the landscape, I see diversity. Now, a week after that first collection day and with several more collections under my belt, I am starting to feel more confident with this work


After a couple weeks here, I am gaining an appreciation for the desert and the incredible tenacity of the flora and fauna that inhabit it. I am learning to look for beauty, like the bright splash of a cactus flower against a big blue sky. I am finding vivacity in the oasis that desert streams provide. Though Carlsbad may be different from the home I’ve known in the Midwest, I am excited for this adventure and to continue exploring this unusual area!



Carlsbad Field Office, Bureau of Land Management

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