Working on the National Old Growth Amendment by Alexander

Hi everyone! This is Alexander checking in after my first month of the Research Assistant Program. It’s been a whirlwind experience. It started in New Mexico with the onboarding and then quickly moved into full-time remote work. This was my first fully remote position so there have been some adjusting and getting a hang of things. That first week after orientation, I didn’t have my laptop, so I just spent time running around trying to connect to meetings and getting temporary access to my personal computer. I got my laptop on my third week, so I have only had it for two weeks. My work changed from my RAP interview with the Forest Service to now. Originally, I was to work mostly with SharePoint/One Note and with a program called Pinyon/Box which is a storage system for the FS but that changed. I am currently working primarily with EndNote providing citation/reference management for the National Old Growth Amendment (NOGA). For those of you who don’t know NOGA is born from President Bidens Executive Order 14072 to conserve and restore old and mature forests. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a proposal to amend all 128 forest land management plans to conserve and steward old growth forests conditions on national forests and grasslands and it is an active FS agency priority. The law requires that all the citations and references from all these plans be managed and cataloged for access and consultation so that is where we come in. We will be making a library through EndNote with all these references which initial estimates suggest could be between 15k-50k entries and each will include a PDF copy of the article and a link to where it is stored to ensure easy and reliable access moving forward. So, I have been working primarily on EndNote and then in the background with SharePoint and with Pinyon, but my focus is NOGA and EndNote. I have been assisting in the steps to have a contractor assist the agency with EndNote data entries, working on the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the agency and contractor for the NOGA effort, and working on setting up a SharePoint and training for general use for staff. I have started the process of obtaining my Contracting Officers Representative Certification Level 1 so that my work supporting the contract can count as my experience for Level 2. So far it has been lots of meetings, meeting new people, and getting used to the complete virtual landscape. I am not at all used to getting cold-called after sending a chat message but so far everyone on my team has been amazing, totally supportive, and teaching me things, giving me pointers, or setting me up with people who know or have what I need to complete my tasks. Shout out to my mentor David who has been overwhelmingly supportive as I get a feel and explore my professional interests during this first month of RA-ship.

I think ill leave it at that and give you some of the more boring technical details next time.

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