I didn’t have many expectations of what my internship in the BLM Carlsbad Field Office would be like as I left Texas. My first week still had some pretty exciting ( and some not-so-exciting) adventures!
Safety first! Two whole days of safety training/ driver training/ getting to know the office… Very important if nothing else! And I learned a thing or two in the process. I even drove this giant truck on some not-so-developed country roads (eek!). Everyone in the vehicle survived (I like to think) because I did my safety training.
Later in the week we made it out into the field a bit. The first outing was to learn the procedure for conducting rangeland plot surveys. There are plots that have been established for monitoring, and we will be specifically examining effects of grazing by sampling pre-season and post-season forbs and grasses. There also might be time to collect pronghorn fecal samples!!
Yesterday we spent the day exploring the range of an endemic species of flax (Linum allredii) that has only been found to occur on a single ridge line thus far. That was pretty great! I got to meet a rare plant and also get introduced to some of the plants I’ll be working with later in the season (and their look-alikes!).
This week I’ve met new plants, revisited a few familiar ones, learned driving and navigation skills, and safety, safety, safety! Though the official assignment is seed collecting with SOS, these exercises are helping us distinguish local flora so we can hit the ground running with seed collecting!
All the best,