This past month has been quite exciting with all sorts of weather and new tasks to complete. We saw rain, sunshine, and even a snow storm while monitoring for cactus. I even got to ride on a UTV and an ATV for my first time! We finally were able to finish all 207 of the Factory Butte Sclerocactus wrightiae microplots, so now we are able to continue on and work on a greater variety of projects.
Since we have completed the Sclerocactus wrightiae and Pediocactus winkleri monitoring, we have been making less and less trips back down to Hanksville, and have now been exploring more and more of the different beautiful places of Utah. Lately, we have been collecting seeds and trying to scout for new populations of various plants to collect seeds for the SOS program. We have been working on collecting seeds from Pediocactus winkleri and Pediocactus despainii and then sending those samples to BYU, where they are looking at the genetics of both plants to see if they truly are two different species or just varieties of the same species. The phenology of both of the species holds no distinguishable difference, so it will be nice to find out what the genetics tells about each of the plants. We have also begun some monitoring for Sclerocactus spinosior through relocating old populations that have not been revisited since the turn of the new millennium.
But besides all of the work I have been doing this past month, I have been able to have lots of fun experiences in my free time. I was able to make a trip to Arches National Park and enjoy the beautiful scenery and get in touch with my inner Edward Abbey. I also had a great time riding up Boulder Mountain on the ATV and going fishing for trout with my boss on the weekend. I had never fished for trout before, so it was definitely a good experience and was able to bring home some tasty fresh trout to cook up.
That is all I have to say for now, until next time!