Learning New Things: seed scouting and rock climbing!

Deschutes River. Photo by Jessica Irwin.

Before deciding to embark on this journey of an internship, I knew close to nothing about Idaho. Besides the fact that potatoes grew here. Nearly everything about the climate and culture here is new and exciting. There is so much I have learned during the past three months, both on and off the clock. In my position, I am fortunate to participate in both the collection and processing of data, while also getting to play a role and learn about the larger implications of the studies being conducted. The ultimate goal of the research conducted at the Boise RMRS lab is to guide and improve restoration efforts of disturbed rangelands in the Great Basin. This involves the development and production of native plants and seed technologies.

A few weeks ago, I was able to join the botanist on our crew, Jessica Irwin, and two other interns on a trip to Eastern Washington and Northern Oregon to scout for target forb species. The four of us spent four days driving and scouting for native plant populations for eventual seed collection. Although it was too early in the season for the species we had initially been scouting for, Sphaeralcea, we did find lots of Lomatium dissectum. Scouting for these plant species on steep hillsides along the Columbia and Deschutes rivers and learning how to identify plants was quite the adventure!

Lodging in Maupin, OR. Photo by Jessica Irwin.
Lomatium dissectum. Photo by Jessica Irwin.

As someone with an irrational fear of falling, I would have never imagined myself finding enjoyment in climbing rocks. Making friends that encourage me to step outside of my comfort zone and trust a manmade harness and ropes has been surprisingly rewarding. I look forward to climbing the Black Cliffs along the Boise River, an excursion my coworkers have now made a weekly tradition, and a lifetime of learning.

Paula and Jessica scouting by the Columbia River Gorge. Photo by Alaina Makowski.
Boise RMRS interns (from left to right: Sahalie Pittman, Alaina Makowski, Paula Silva).
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