Aside from seed collecting, the past few weeks I have been able to explore other field work at the BLM. I went out with the fisheries crew one day and helped them survey two sections of a creek, which happened to be loaded with fish! There was a lot more diversity in those prairie streams than I would have expected. Another day I went out with the seasonal wildlife biologist to assist with a swift fox study. I helped take down several camera traps to check the results after three nights of their being out, and we also set up two new transects with camera traps. It was a pretty neat process, and it was cool to see some of the pictures of skunks, raccoons, coyotes, and jackrabbits. I was also invited to tag along with a group to a recently burned area south of Miles City, for training on BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response). It was really interesting to learn how to assess a burned area on the severity and intensity of the fire on the landscape, and what different treatments might be appropriate, depending on the rating.
Outside of work, I recently volunteered at the annual bluegrass festival in Miles City, and helped sell food and slices of pies (70 total pies, of all different types!). That was a neat way to get involved in the community and hear some local talent. I also met a local woman who has been kind enough to teach a beginning quilter! That is something I’ve always wanted to know how to do; I’m almost finished with my first quilt, and I can’t wait to see the finished product.