My First Month in the Treasure Valley

View of the Boise Ridge from the RMRS offices.

The Boise Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is located downtown in a building that additionally hosts a satellite campus of the University of Idaho and the Idaho Department of Water Resources. RMRS comprises two floors: one for Aquatic Sciences, one for Drylands, where I work. Here, a team of Maintaining Resilient Dryland Ecosystems (MRDE) scientists work on the Great Basin Native Plant Project (GBNPP). The GBNPP is a collaborative effort from the USDA Forest Service, the USDI Bureau of Land Management, and the USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, which seeks to conserve arid and semi-arid Great Basin ecosystems from fire, invasive species, and other anthropogenic-related disturbances. The scientists at the MRDE research lab in Boise primarily focus on the genetic mapping of native seeds for restoring biodiverse ecosystems in the face of climate change. There are a current total of 7 common forb gardens that the lab manages, all of which are on homelands belonging to the Shoshone, Paiute, Bannock, and Washoe Peoples. Forbs are flowering plants that are critical to the health of sagebrush ecosystems, which are habitats for Sage-Grouse and other bird and insect populations. These gardens are used to collect data and monitor plant production of forbs sourced from around the Great Basin in regard to climate adaptations. 

Map of forb common garden locations (GBNPP 2021 Report)

As a Support Services Specialist, I get to wear many hats. My responsibilities include administrative duties, assisting with data collection, and science outreach. As the weather here in Idaho gets warmer and the field season begins, I look forward to spending more time outdoors. For now, I get to wear all my hats in my very own office! So far, most of my time here has been spent meeting those involved with plant production in the Rocky Mountain region, familiarizing myself with the GBNPP, and learning how to use new software systems. However, I have had the chance to drive one of the fleet vehicles, visit the Lucky Peak Nursery, and potential forb garden sites. Now that most of the snow in the valley has melted, I have also spent many hours weeding Cheatgrass, a prominent invasive grass in the Western US, from our Orchard common garden. 

Exploring all the opportunities that this internship has to offer and getting to explore a new part of the country and make new friends during my time off has been so much fun!

Potential common garden site at Lucky Peak.
My office!
Weekend hike with new friends!
Bruno at the top of Table Rock, a remnant of the bottom of Lake Idaho.
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