Journey Into The West

An adventure of self-discovery and the path of Botany….

Dog Valley- Humbolt-Toyiabe National Forest, Verdi, NV

I graduate from my university as a student of Wildlife Conservation Biology, from the University of New Hampshire. I traveled into the west in search of working with invasive species, primarily plants. It was either through luck or good fortune. I met Dirk Netz, the botanist for the state of Nevada. Along with Nicole Spehn, we are entering an amazing world of Western Botany.

The goal of Dirk Netz, Jessica Kindred, Great Basin Insitute, Desert Research Institute, Burea of Land Management, and many more is to create a seed back that is viable in response to increase fire frequency and intensity. While grasses are well known and critical to the success of fire restoration, the perennial and annual forbs are also critical to the success of restoration.

Our first week opened the door to the amazing world to the world of Western Botany. We had the opportunity to travel into the Humbolt-Toyabie National Forest’s Dog Valley for hands-on experience in the identification of species critical to the ‘Seeds of Success Program’, other native grasses and forbs, and familiarize ourselves with the terrain and landscape.

Our second week we were able to team up with fellow interns from Great Basin Insistute, the volunteer group I worked with prior, and Jess Kindred, the leader for the program on the BLM side. With her and her team we were able to familiarize ourselves with the SOS program in-field. Our search lead us to Contact a small mining town in search of Thurber’s Needle Grass, a species of interest for the SOS program. We also learned how to collect tissue sample for plants of interest to determine possible speciation and regionality differences.

For our next week, we had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of people from both The Nature Conservancy and Desert Research Insitute. We were able to learn about programs beyond the SOS Program. We helped collaborate on assessment protocol on Nevada’s riparian habitat. This habitat is a relative unknown primarily because of few known locations, presence/absence, and due to Nevada’s ephemeral. However because of Nevada’s l, the landscape there are a wide and varied types of riparian habitats that exiist (saltwater, hotsprings, coldwater).

This week we are heading out to examine the success of our burned area reseedings. While this is an entirely new field for me I am discovering that it is a field that I am loving more and more. I cannot wait to continue to learn feeding and catering to my inner botanist.

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