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Eggers Woods Give Back to Birds Day

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 8:00am

Fall migration will be in full swing, and we will look for a variety of birds that are on their way south, including warblers, thrushes, and flycatchers. We stand an excellent chance to see Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.  For more information, visit https://www.fieldmuseum.org/at-the-field/programs/birding-field. Walk leaders: Josh Engel, Robb Telfer, and Becky Collings

The post Eggers Woods Give Back to Birds Day appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Bird Conservation Success Story and Birding Trip: McGinnis Slough

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 7:00am

Join Forest Preserve Staff, Ecologists, and Bird Conservation Network Monitors at McGinnis Slough to learn about the Slough’s origin, history, and observe and understand why shorebirds (such as plovers and sandpipers) migrating south from their Arctic nesting grounds to their winter grounds in Central and South America are attracted to the mudflats exposed by the yearly drawdown of water in July. This shallow, 300-acre body of water serves also as an important migratory stopover for waders (such as herons and egrets) and waterfowl; the Forest Preserves’ waterfowl conservation efforts in the Palos area will also be discussed. To register contact: jpbobolink@gmail.com.

The post Bird Conservation Success Story and Birding Trip: McGinnis Slough appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Viaje de Campo Bosque LaBagh / Chicago Ornithological Society Big Year Birding Field Trip

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 7:00am

SOC le invita a una gira para observar la migración otoñal. Esta gira será bilingüe. Traigan botas a prueba de agua. / Enjoy the height of spring migration. Wear waterproof boots. See chicagobirder.org  for updates. Contact/contactar: Luis Muñoz, malango@rcn.com.

The post Viaje de Campo Bosque LaBagh / Chicago Ornithological Society Big Year Birding Field Trip appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Penny Road Pond Big Year Birding Field Trip

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 7:30am

Join Chicago Audubon Society for a fall bird walk targeting migrating songbirds. Updates: chicagoaudubon.org. Register with Craig Stettner: cstettne@harpercollege.edu, 847-925-6214.

The post Penny Road Pond Big Year Birding Field Trip appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Birding Basics

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sat, 09/03/2016 - 10:00am

Learn the basics in birdwatching just in time to watch resident birds prepare for winter and see migrants passing through by the thousands on their way to their winter feeding grounds. Adults and teens only. Limited binoculars available. Registration required by 9/1.

The post Birding Basics appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Go Outside: It’s Good for You

Garden Blog - 3 hours 20 min ago

Interested in a healthier, happier life? Try connecting with the natural world. A new, technologically advanced body of research shows that spending time in nature can provide protection against cancer, high blood pressure, depression, stress, and more.

Take a walk in nature to improve your mood and your health.

Take a walk in nature to improve your mood and your health.

Earlier this year, a National Geographic article noted that advances in neuroscience and psychology have provided scientists with more tools to look at the way nature affects our brains and bodies. According to the article, “These measurements—of everything from stress hormones to heart rate to brain waves to protein markers—indicate that when we spend time in green space, ‘there is something profound going on,’” said University of Utah cognitive psychologist David Strayer.

University of Illinois environment and behavior researcher Ming Kuo found that nature has the ability to enhance the functioning of the body’s immune system. “Nature doesn’t just have one or two active ingredients,” she told the university’s College News. “It’s more like a multivitamin that provides us with all sorts of the nutrients we need. That’s how nature can protect us from all these different kinds of diseases—cardiovascular, respiratory, mental health, musculoskeletal, etc.—simultaneously.”

Improve learning with time spent in the natural world.

Improve learning with time spent in the natural world.

Other studies show that nature is essential to the well-being of children. Children learn and focus better, and are healthier and more relaxed in green spaces, researchers say. In its national guidelines on encouraging nature play, the National Wildlife Federation says, “Nature play is defined as a learning process, engaging children in working together to develop physical skills, to exercise their imaginations, to stimulate poetic expression, to begin to understand the workings of the world around them.”

Come experience the Chicago Botanic Garden’s new Nature Play Garden, where visitors of all ages and abilities can roll down hills, splash in water, hide in logs, and more.

The Nature Play Garden is part of the new Regenstein Learning Campus. Come to the free Opening Celebration on September 10 and 11.

Arbustum ; Fonticulus ; Spinetum / [Carolus Stephanus].

New Book Arrivals - 5 hours 54 min ago
Arbustum ; Fonticulus ; Spinetum / [Carolus Stephanus].
Author: Estienne, Charles, 1504-approximately 1564.
Call Number: S407.E88 1542

Vocabvla rei nvmariae pondervm et mensvrarvm Graeca, Latina, Ebraica, quorum intellectus omnibus necessarius est / collecta ex Budaei, Ioachimi Camerarij & Philip Melanth annotationibus. Additae svnt appellationes quadrupedum, insectorum, volucrum,...

New Book Arrivals - 5 hours 54 min ago
Vocabvla rei nvmariae pondervm et mensvrarvm Graeca, Latina, Ebraica, quorum intellectus omnibus necessarius est / collecta ex Budaei, Ioachimi Camerarij & Philip Melanth annotationibus. Additae svnt appellationes quadrupedum, insectorum, volucrum, piscium, frugum, leguminum, olerum & fructuum communium / collectae à Paulo Ebero, & Casparo Peucero.
Call Number: QC87.V63 1563

Wanderings through the conservatories at Kew / published under the direction of the Committee of Literature and Education appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

New Book Arrivals - 5 hours 54 min ago
Wanderings through the conservatories at Kew / published under the direction of the Committee of Literature and Education appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
Author: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain). General Literature Committee.
Call Number: QK73.G72K47 1857

Hailey Pass – Washakie Pass Loop: Big Sandy Trailhead

CLM Internship Blog - 5 hours 57 min ago
  • A special note to future CLMers in Pinedale: go to the Great Outdoors Shop and ask about this loop — they can tell you all about it and supply you with any maps or accessories you need. You have to do this hike while you’re here!

“This was the best I have seen of the Winds,” claimed Lara (she does a lot of hiking around WY area). I feel so very fortunate to have her as a friend/partner in crime/hiking guru. I learned so much from her this past weekend, and look forward to the continuation of our adventures.

This is a “lollipop” loop trail, about 34 miles in total. Unless you are like Lara and I, who just can’t help but hike off course to see some of the other pristine lakes in the area (recommended), or get kind of lost every now and then, you should plan for 40.

Passing up and over two mountain saddles, crossing a number of streams, scrambling across a boulder field, along bountiful alpine lakes and forests, meadows and basins, this hike holds the absolute beauty of the Wind River Range for the adventurous spirits.

If I were to do this hike again, I would love to spend at least 4 or 5 days in order to smell all of the flowers and spend more time fishing the lakes. However, we only had one weekend, and Lara is a bit crazy, so she convinced me that we could do this in 2.5 days.

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The first 6-7 miles gently roles uphill in a dense, shaded pine/spruce/fir forest, then through a meadow sprinkled with boulders and trees with a backdrop of the mountains that faithfully await you.

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Dad’s lake is the first major landmark you will reach, about 6 miles in. Follow signs toward Marm’s Lake and Pyramid Lake.

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This is Trigger. He technically belongs to Lara but I wish he lived with me.

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You will see Pyramid Peak and Mount Hooker ahead. Before the lake is a junction that takes you up to Hailey’s Pass, marked with a wooden sign on the ground. Dumbfounded with the views ahead and unaware of our pace, we cruised right by the sign. Staying straight will take you up to Pyramid Lake, around 3 miles there and back to the junction. This lake was absolutely gorgeous, a must see for this hike in my opinion. So, I was glad we missed the turn off point. I would even suggest camping here if you have time. If you don’t’ have time, you should create some and stay.

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The ascent to Hailey’s Pass is steep, but the views surrounding you will keep your feet moving.

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top of Hailey’s Pass

Also very steep is the decent, with a loose-gravel trail that winds down the east side of the pass. With the weight of your pack and heavy winds, your adrenaline is sure to kick-in high gear. Bring your trekking poles for this one! Or grab a walking stick before the climb.

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Lacking trekking poles, this really was the best way to crawl down without injury, for us. I tried to stay on my two feet and was humbled to the ground twice. Continuously I was being teased by the views and tempted to look up and out over the pass. Each time I would lose my footing and slip.  My pants became gluteless-chaps in this process. Literally, the backside of my pants was ripped off. This was the only pair I brought, so I decided to follow and not lead the rest of the trip out of curtesy.

Slowly but steadily, you will make it.

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Our goal was to make it to Grave Lake to camp, but again got a bit side-tracked. We ended up on the wrong side of the stream about a half mile from where we should have crossed to continue on. The sun was about to set and we felt exhausted, so we pitched camp along a creek with Grave Lake as our first destination in the morning.

Shortly after you cross the creek is a sign for Baptiste Lake just 1.6 miles away. Lara gave me this puppy-eyed look and asked what I thought. In her head I know she was thinking please say yes, please say yes! We stood there for a while just staring at the junction, and finally decided to go for it.

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Baptiste Lake

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Grave Lake

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Grave Lake

Who told you that there were no beaches in Wyoming?

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We were surprised by a boulder field around the side of Grave Lake. It was a challenge, but we were more concerned for Trigger than anything. After watching him bounce from boulder to boulder with ease, we realized he was much better off than we were.

Washakie Pass

Washakie Pass

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view from the top of Washakie

After Washakie Pass and back to the junction at Skull Lake, you will have completed the “lollipop” of the loop and will finish out the way you came in.

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Happy Trails

Val Stacey

Pinedale, WY

The End Has No End

CLM Internship Blog - 6 hours 2 min ago

As I write I am starting my second to last week here at the Grants Pass Interagency Office. Kiki and I have completed her FRGE field collection and so have finished going out in the field together. She is stuck in the office while I tag along with whoever needs help in the field.

Kiki and I had one last FRGE visit to do before we went to ESA and it was a wonderful day! The weather was nice and the views were pretty. We walked along a dry creek bed full of dragonflies and through a pleasant oak woodland. Our site itself was inside a stand of Ceanothus cuteanus, which wasn’t very pleasant. But we ate lunch on a decommissioned road under the pines and doug firs. It was a nice day! I’ve really enjoyed visiting rare plant sites with Kiki, we’ve had a great time. I’ll certainly miss exploring the backcountry with her!

Our last site was in the Butte Falls resource area. It looks a lot like this!

Our last site was in the Butte Falls resource area. It looks a lot like this!

The poison oak has started to turn this pretty pink color. It looks harmless! (it isn't)

The poison oak has started to turn this pretty pink color. It looks harmless! (it isn’t)

This is what we look like after a successful day of back country hiking. BeWILDered. haha

This is what we look like after a successful day of back country hiking. BeWILDered. haha

We had to park on BLM land that was right next to someones farm. When we made it back to the truck these cute farm dogs came and checked us out. They were sweet!

We had to park on BLM land that was right next to someones farm. When we made it back to the truck these cute farm dogs came and checked us out. They were sweet!

Kiki and I started our internship in March so we didn’t attend the training in Chicago. Instead, we went to the Ecological Society of America conference last week! It was in sunny Ft Lauderdale, Florida! Except it wasn’t so sunny, which turned out to be a blessing because it was still horrifically hot and humid. But we had a great time! There’s so much interesting research going on all around the world, it makes me really excited to go on to graduate school!

Our hotel was right on the marina. We ate lunch overlooking the water quite a bit~

Our hotel was right on the marina. We ate lunch overlooking the water quite a bit~

And we watched the sunset here quite a bit as well~

And we often watched the sun set over the marina.

Almost all of our time was spent listening to talks at the conference we made time to hit the beach one afternoon. The water was really warm.. like a bath. And the sand was hot like coal embers.

Almost all of our time was spent listening to talks at the conference, but we made time to hit the beach one afternoon. The water was really warm.. like a bath. And the sand was hot like coal embers.

This is a bad picture but we took a water taxi back to the hotel from the beach! It was a fun experience.

This is a bad picture but we took a water taxi back to the hotel from the beach! It was a fun experience.

With our FRGE work done Kiki and I are sometimes enlisted to help with seed collection. The Medford district is huge and very diverse, so there is no shortage of seed to be collected here! Our Botany crew can knock out a collection in a few hours, easy!

The crew is collecting Horkelia in French Flat. It's a pretty spot!

The crew is collecting Horkelia in French Flat. It’s a pretty spot!

Kiki was feeling a little hot and exposed, though. This pose is what we in the biz call 'collection dejection'.

Kiki was feeling a little hot and exposed, though. This pose is what we in the biz call ‘collection dejection’.

This week I got to help with a trash cleanup project in a place called Reeve’s Creek. People dump their trash here instead of taking it to the dump because it’s cheaper to just throw trash away on BLM land. But it’s also incredibly disgusting. As we were picking up the huge amount of trash in one of the drainages on the side of the road, I wondered if the people knew that some poor intern was going to have to clean up their huge mess one day. Or that their habit of dumping on public lands is a really awful one. Do they feel guilty, I wondered? Do they have trouble sleeping? We packed up four overflowing truck-beds worth of trash and we barely made a dent. Do they know how we suffer when we’re cleaning up their mess? Anyway, it was an awful experience. But my boss Mr Wender said that without suffering we’d never know when we were experiencing happiness. This may seem dramatic but honestly, a few hours of picking up a huge amount of household trash in the hot hot heat is not fun! I would not recommend it!

Someone put old headphones on this cute little stuffed animal to add some whimsy to the event.

Someone put old headphones on this cute little stuffed animal to add some whimsy to the event.

The whimsy is lost when the toy is sitting on a throne of garbage.

The whimsy is lost when the toy is sitting on a throne of garbage.

Anyway, this week I’ll be saying goodbye to Queen Nasty herself, Kiki Fahey. We were the dream team this summer. I never dared to hope that I’d get along so well with the person I’d be spending my work days with, but we have so much fun together! Whether it’s playing basketball with grapes or cherry tomatoes where the hoops are our mouths, singing along with Drake or Janelle Monae or Kiki’s fave Down with the Sickness, or laughing at jokes that are questionable at best, we always had a great time. I’m sad to see her go but I know she’ll do excessively well in her masters program at Northwestern.

She's Queen Nasty because she eats grapes and cherry tomatoes off the ground.

She’s Queen Nasty because she eats grapes and cherry tomatoes off the ground.

And you know we're always playing scrabble!

And you know we’re always playing scrabble!

Next week is my last week. It doesn’t seem real, but I’m excited to be going to home see my family and to have some time to focus on looking at graduate schools!

Anyway, it’s been a hoot and a half!

Lillie P

Heading toward new horizons

CLM Internship Blog - 6 hours 6 min ago

Hey everyone,

For several weeks we have surveyed  sagebrush almost exclusively. I finally feel familiar with the plants that inhabit this unique ecosystem. When I was fist introduced to the system, it looked like an indistinguishable, green mat of vegetation. To my surprise I found sagebrush to be much like a forest, just scaled down. It contains multiple layers of plant life, some of the plant species we encounter are quite beautiful. For example the mariposa lily (Calochortus gunnisonii),and showy milkweed (Asclepias speciosa). 

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A fine Calochortus gunnisonii specimen found inside a sagebrush plot

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Some Asclepias speciosa found outside a plot in Kremmling, CO

Many of the sagebrush plots were located in Walden, CO about and hour and some change north of Kremmling. The city of Walden is nestled in a huge valley with some peculiar features including sand hills and a lake covered in water knotweed (Persicaria amphibian).

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Lake almost completely covered in Persicaria amphibian

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North Sand Hills Recreation Management Area outside Walden CO

I am still getting used to the intense quietness of the area, where the familiar sounds of humans are nowhere to be found. Aside from the occasional antelope, the only thing you hear is the wind sweeping through the three-pronged leaves of Artemisia tridentata

It is not all peaceful out in the field however, fire has broken out in Beaver Creek and several members of our office have been assigned to help manage the situation. The Beaver creek fire has been raging outside of Walden since late June, and it projected to continue for several weeks. The smoke from the fire could be seen from most of our plots and the smell of burning cigars would fill the air when the wind shifted towards us. Its hard to believe how long a fire can smolder, the latest update on its extent is 35,429 acres.

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Smoke rising from the Beaver Creek fire from about 5 miles away

Recently we left the sagebrush and ventured out into coniferous forests. The shade and change of scenery is welcomed. The hike out to our last plot provided us with some breathtaking views of the Rawah Peaks northwest of Rocky Mountain National Park.

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The hike out to a plot with the Rawah peaks in the background

The refreshing change comes with a new community of plants to become familiar with but not all the plants in the forests are out of the ordinary. Among the rose plants were a few red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) and wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca), that I was happy to sample when I came across some ripe fruit.

Getting exposure to new sites, provides great opportunities to practice pressing plants, and identifying specimen in the field and the office. I am looking forward to meeting some new plants and expanding my mental plant catalog.  I will leave with some shots of my colleagues hard at work.

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Nik pressing plants unbeknownst that he is being photographed, sorry bud

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Amy conducting a soil stability test, this test is by far the strangest one we do in the field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kremmling CO, field office

Bureau of Land Management

Eli Lowry

Hummingbird Sit

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sun, 08/28/2016 - 10:00am

Take a seat and enjoy watching the hummingbirds. A naturalist will discuss their behavior and how to attract them to your yard.

Bird the Preserves: Each month during our 2016 Bird the Preserves initiative, we’re giving you the opportunity to see some of the most interesting birds in the preserves. Learn more about ruby-throated hummingbirds.

The post Hummingbird Sit appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Hummingbird Theatre

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 1:00pm

Hummingbirds are amazing! Watch a video to see these fast-fliers in slow-motion and discuss conservation efforts.

Bird the Preserves: Each month during our 2016 Bird the Preserves initiative, we’re giving you the opportunity to see some of the most interesting birds in the preserves. Learn more about ruby-throated hummingbirds.

The post Hummingbird Theatre appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Confusing Fall Warblers Bird Walk

Birding Events at the Forest Preserves - Sat, 08/27/2016 - 8:30am

Confusing fall warblers? We’ll help you sort them out. Limited amount of walking. All ages. Register with Mel Tracy: 708-361-8726.

The post Confusing Fall Warblers Bird Walk appeared first on Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Drought and Rain and Gratitude

CLM Internship Blog - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 4:13pm

Goodness, how time flies! We are about half way done with our internship already! While the beginning of the summer focused more on scouting out sites for plants we were able to collect, we are now finally getting into the full swing of seed collecting season. We’ve made over 40 collections so far (sometimes up to five in one day) covering all five New England coastal states. We’ve voyaged over seas of sand dunes, gotten sucked into mud waist-deep, narrowly escaped endless clouds of mosquitos, bushwhacked through 10-foot tall stands of Phragmites, walked through creeks chest-high in water, canoed through rivers that were more plant-matter than water, and had a few lucky days of being caught in the rain – a very welcome way to cool off. Every day has been a different adventure with new things to learn. It’s been a very immersive (figuratively and literally) way to experience the natural world, and I’ve been enjoying every bit of it.

The rare winged monkey-flower (Mimulus alatus) - totally worth the wading through a creek up to our chests!

The rare winged monkey-flower (Mimulus alatus) – totally worth the wading through a creek up to our chests!

These seeds drying in pans really brighten up our living room, but our neighbors think we are really weird...

These seeds drying in pans really brighten up our living room, but our neighbors think we are really weird…

Our first fleshy fruit collection! Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry).

Our first fleshy fruit collection! Gaylussacia baccata (black huckleberry).

Currently most of New England is in a moderate to severe drought. Although we don’t have enough comparative data to draw any solid conclusions, we are pretty sure that the drought has been impacting many of the plants very badly this year. Last week were in a small salt marsh in Southern CT, when we came across a huge patch of Schoenoplectus pungens (three-square bulrush). There were plenty of plants to collect from, however after sampling a few of them we realized it wouldn’t be worth it. The seeds were either absent or had turned to mush, the top half of the plants yellow and sun-scorched. Similarly, there have been several times now that we’ve witnessed a very distraught population of Juncus gerardii (black grass). This is one of the four main component species of a salt marsh, usually filling the landscape of the upper marsh area. Most of our sites with J. gerardii have massive populations, yet we are having trouble finding good seed – some we have had to not even attempt a collection from. According to our mentor and last year’s records, J. gerardii should have plenty of seeds available for collection well into August.

One of the largest of our salt marshes, in Barnstable, MA. Most of the green here is composed of Juncus gerardii, but we haven't been able to collect it here because the seeds simply were not there. But it is still a really beautiful site.

Great Marsh, Barnstable, MA. Most of the green here is composed of Juncus gerardii, but we haven’t been able to collect it here because the seeds simply were not there. But it is still a really beautiful site.

I don’t think I would have fully understood the effects of the drought if I hadn’t been out in the field this summer. It’s one thing to read or hear about something like this, but it’s another thing to see it up close. And it’s a third thing to experience it. Because we have been out in the field during the hottest parts of the day, I found I’m able to empathize with these plants on a much more personal level. However, we know that at the end of the day we will catch a breeze in our air-conditioned cars, fill up water bottles from a cold faucet, and eat a nutrient-balanced meal. The plants and animals in these habitats can’t make that assumption, especially during a drought like this. Being out there with these plants on a daily basis is helping me not take these gifts essential for our survival for granted… Yet for those few hours of our day, we are united in our experience. We’ve been drained and wilted under the relentless heat, and we’ve been dancing and laughing and re-energized during the rains. I like to think that the plants are having the same reactions too – we are just much more vocal about it.

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Dry/dead Juncus gerardii at Great Marsh, Barnstable, MA. Sometimes you have to just make the best of the situation…

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…and take a nap in the salt marsh :)

Here’s to hoping for more rain, and moving forward with gratitude.

Krista Heilmann

Seeds of Success East Intern

New England Wild Flower Society

Framingham, MA

August?!

CLM Internship Blog - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 4:11pm

It’s crazy that summer’s over. I don’t mean my internship – that still has several months left – but summer itself. We’ve had weeks of crazed collections and 95+ degree days, but now the highs are in the 80s, it’s begun to rain again, and we only have a handful of species to collect.

Besides filling out herbarium labels and sending off the rest of our seeds, we’re starting to move onto other projects. Some of them are plants-based, such as pre- and post- aspen treatment monitoring and abandoned mine land restoration replanting. Others are wildlife-based, like prairie dog surveys. We’re not really sure exactly what the next couple of months will hold, but there are a lot of cool projects that we’ll get to help out on.

Outside of work, our lives have settled into routine. Evenings generally leave time for one extra activity before dinner, and three-day weekends encourage a lazy day before adventures. I’ve been in a slump for a couple of weeks, but gained some momentum last weekend and went backpacking in the Tetons with other Lander interns. I’m tied to Lander for a couple weeks while housesitting, and I’m hoping to stay out of the lazy funk and do some local climbing and general getting-my-life-together things.

Yep. August.

BLM – Lander Field Office

The end is near

CLM Internship Blog - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 4:10pm

I am in my last few weeks here as the botany assistant in the West Eugene wetlands. I am still working slowly but surely through the Wetland Plant Identification Guide I am making. The process is much more intense than I had initially thought it would be and I am a little nervous for its turnout. However, I am excited to finish it up and have it be of use to future interns.  And to keep a copy for myself, of course.

A new CLM intern, Emily, joined the crew as a biological technician in July. We have been working together along with the local youth crews to remove tanzia ragwort and meadow knapweed in the wet prairies, and blackberries that are encroaching on some of the endangered plants.  Our highlight last week was the pack of llamas we ran into on the Long Tom river.  It was in the high 90s and they were having a river party with lawn chairs and floaties. I’m only half-joking (see photo below).

Long Tom river party with some llamas in Eugene, Oregon.

Long Tom river party with some llamas in Eugene, Oregon.

On my last week following labor day weekend I will be visiting our seed castle with the City of Eugene’s ecologist, Diane Steeck. We will be preparing seed for upcoming planting projects throughout the city.

As my hours terminate on September 9th, I am taking the opportunity to visit my family in Minnesota before embarking on a new venture- whatever that may be, I’m still trying to figure it out.  I would like to stay here in the Pacific Northwest and continue to work in the botany field.  So that’s what I am aiming for. Keeping fingers crossed and sending out resumes and cover letters like nobody’s business.  I’ve had a great time here in Eugene with the BLM and its partners.  I admit, I am a little sad to see it come to an end, but oh-so appreciative of all that I have learned and the people that I have met.

I’ll wrap up with ya’ll in a few weeks.

Happy August!

DANICA MALONEY

BOTANY ASSISTANT

BLM WEST EUGENE WETLANDS

Wildlife and Rangeland

CLM Internship Blog - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 4:08pm

What does this mean to you?  Wildlife and rangeland.  Does it mean conflict of interest?  Does it mean working together?  Or does it mean two completely separate entities that should never have anything to do with each other?  To me, they are one in the same.  I have a Rangeland Management degree with an Option in Wildlife Management.  Basically, this means that I took not only all of the range courses but all of the wildlife courses as well.  I wish everyone had to do that.

Wildlife and rangelands need to go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.  If you think you can, you’re kidding yourself.  The BLM does a wonderful job of promoting multiple-use landscapes, and this includes wildlife.  However, growing up in ranching communities, I know not everyone loves the idea of an elk eating their haystack.  We moved into their space, not the other way around.  I might sound preachy here, but it’s something that I feel more people need to understand.  My internship this summer has allowed me to explore some absolutely beautiful and unique areas in Wyoming.  I get to hang out in wide open spaces with little to no people within a 20 mile radius of me and little to no “improvements” on the landscape to ruin the view.

I’m lucky and I know it.  Seeing exactly how the multiple-use landscape comes together is awesome.  I have seen bikers, hikers, and horseback riders on the Continental Divide Trail, cows on rangeland, wildlife on rangeland, different agencies conducting research on BLM land, oil and gas exploration, and historical artifacts that take you back to the pioneer days.  My passion will always be wildlife, but rangelands are important too.  Maybe more important in many ways.  There is beauty and importance in everything if you only take a look.

American Avocet 1 Broomlike Ragwort 1 DSCN0499

Gamble Oak, Moose, and Sage: Welcome to Colorado

CLM Internship Blog - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 10:26am

This is my first post to the blog, as I was very late in coming to the CLM Internship program.  I was notified that there was a position available, and within a very short period of time I was packing up my valuables and making a 20-hour drive from British Columbia, Canada to Kremmling, CO to work for the BLM Field Office located there.  I had very little idea about what I was going to be doing, but I knew it was a good opportunity and that I would be a fool to pass it up.

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After being here for a month I think I finally have a good grasp on what our goal is and the methods involved.  I am working under the Assessment, Inventory and Monitoring initiative, or AIM, that was outlined by the BLM in order to guide land management decision making.  In my location specifically, a lot of the data collection revolves around the sage-grouse habitat.  From a broader perspective though, the project is concerned with the overall mapping of habitat regarding species diversity, soil composition and stability, and generally the types of stands that are found and how well they are established.  The data is hopefully meant to show trends over time in how the habitats are progressing, and provide some information for making management decisions.  I was browsing some of the other blog posts and It seems that many others are working under the AIM project as well, so I am sure this is old news to most of you, all the same I thought I would include it in my entry for clarity.

The specific nature of our data collection is fairly rigorous and tedious, as it should be with respect to its implications.  Accuracy is important, however, this can make doing a plot a rather slow process and our team is fairly far behind in the goal that was set for the season.  To be fair though, my mentor and team lead has been handicapped from the start.  She was late in receiving the position and then had a series of interns back out on her in the beginning.  She was alone essentially until a month into the job when the first intern arrived, and then another month later I came in.  Conducting a plot with three people can take long enough, let alone two.  So with that being said, we are behind, but not without reason.

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Overall I think we are getting better and sliding into a groove, navigation can be an issue though, with BLM land checker-boarding private land.  At times this makes for very difficult hikes to get to a plot, as there may be a road very close by, but we are unable to access it due to a private gate.  Therefore, we must opt for a road further away and a longer hike.  Most recently, we encountered a gamble oak site, it was a rather humbling experience.  If you’ve ever encountered a gamble oak stand and had to go through it, you know what I am talking about.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture as my phone was out of battery after camping for 3 nights, but for those who don’t know I will try to describe.  Gamble oak is more like a shrub than a tree, but a large shrub, standing around 8-10 feet tall.  And it is everywhere.  It feels like you’re fighting through the jungle and should have a guide with a machete, except it’s woody.  A long sleeve is recommended, preferably one that you don’t mind being shredded.  I did not foresee this and have the battle wounds to show for it.  Hiking through it is one thing, but laying out and taking data from a transect can feel near impossible.  An entire plot becomes a much longer and more painful/frustrating ordeal.  In summary, I will never forget my experience in gamble oak and will do my best to avoid it.

I feel this post has taken a somewhat negative turn, but that is just a small part of what has overall been a great experience thus far.  I have been camping a lot, and was pretty inexperienced in that regard before coming to Colorado.  I had some minor trepidation beforehand about my ability to cook and get a good night’s rest.  I have since found that cooking is not that difficult if you prepare well, and that there is a lovely calm to falling asleep under the stars with nothing but the sound of crickets.  I have also experienced an abundance of wildlife that continues to amaze me, including bald eagles, great horned owls, and an up-close encounter with a moose!  I stumbled upon it near a stream crossing as I had my head down just chugging along, next thing I knew I heard a loud clomping sound through the water and it emerged out of a thicket of tall shrubs maybe 15-20 meters away.  I think we both startled each other pretty well, and my heart was pounding as we eyed each other with a mixture of fear and curiosity.  I backed up slowly trying not to turn my back, as the memory that moose are known to charge came to the forefront of my mind.  But it didn’t, it just stood there, almost timidly looking at me and hardly moving.  After alerting my fellow crew members to its presence, there was a lot of picture taking as is expected, naturally my phone was out of battery.  I will never forget that encounter though, the picture is in my head.

IMG_20160726_204025230_HDR10928  Sand dunes near Walden, CO

10929 The moose! Taken by my mentor.

 

Until next time,

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BLM Kremmling, CO Field Office

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