The past few weeks have been exciting- we’ve been busy trying to hit the timing right on many of our target species because they all seem to be in full swing with seed right now! One of our most exciting collections so far has been of silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) . This is one of our high priority species because it provides good habitat in woodland and riparian sites. After scouting for this shrub throughout our field season, we were losing hope on it being a viable collection because we could only find small stands of it, and those seemed to have little fruit. Two factors which make buffaloberry of particular difficulty are that this species is dioecious- male and female reproductive structures are found in different individuals (meaning not all individuals have berries), and also typically there is only a good seed crop every 3-4 years. So it was a difficult chase, but we were finally able to hunt down a large stand of buffaloberry in a nice green ash draw, and there were tons of berries!!! We spent several days collecting the small, bright red berries (and trying to avoid the thorns!) and collected quite a lot! We had plenty to cover the 10,000 seed needed by SOS and will have plenty leftover to use for reclamation work!
After work yesterday I attended the opening of my very first county fair! I went with my mentor to the Eastern Montana Fair, which is in Miles City through Sunday. It was fascinating to see all the homemade entries and the livestock; I plan to go back this weekend when I will have more time to fully enjoy the experience, including my first rodeo, and to get another funnel cake!
Brooke Stallings, Miles City, MT BLM