May the Forest be with you

May is pre-field prep Month

By Margaret Hanson

May was a busy month as all months will be during this program. The forest was gearing up for field season and we were in the works of organizing projects as they came in our door. Most of the month was packed with visiting trips, some field work and lots of meetings. Our forest was well on its way in preparing for the busy timber, fire and recreation season since these are the biggest drivers of the east zone. This required some field visits, office work and a lot more meetings for planning. This did not leave a lot of leisure time yet there was plenty of projects that allowed for some great sites to see.

As I have said before, our office is made up of only two of us to manage the entirety of the east side (Huron Forest) which included 3 districts for my mentor and I to oversee. It isn’t as large as some yet it does stretch a vast across the state and some days we have to drive a few hours to get to our site or other office for meetings. One day when after a meeting we went out with a few people to scope out some of the district. This allowed us to stumble onto the Lake Huron where we were able to take a break for lunch and I could snap this quick picture. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to capture the vastness of the lake.

It doesn’t have to always be work all the time. On the weekends after long days in the field I’ve found peace in the ability to come home to this little lady. We have moved pretty far from home and I’m so having her here makes the transition a little easier. On the weekends when we aren’t out walking and exploring she likes to spend time lounging on the chair. I snapped this one on a hot day and just after taking a long walk so relaxing in the AC was a necessity.

The nice thing about being here in Michigan is that there are so many forests so close together. With the pressures of daily goals and agenda’s it is good to be able to step away and enjoy some time away. I have found that the forest service has also been really good about making sure people are getting a good amount of time off when they need. With the extra time off I took the opportunity to meet up with my boyfriend and check out Hiawatha national forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My hometown is not close to a lot of National forests so it has been nice to see another national forest and how each forest is similar yet different when it comes to handling of the ecology, biology and cultural resources. As another added bonus it was the weekend the northern lights were at their strongest peak. My hometown is not north enough to see, so even with the light pollution we were able to see them in full force. It was a wonderful time away and I was able was excited and ready return to get ready for the many long hours of field work, projects, outreach and hosting events for the month of June.

I am learning a lot through this great opportunity, and meeting a lot of wonderful people. Though I’m far from home and most of it is hard work with long days it’s a great way to see what a career with the forest service will be like. When there is passion and endless amount of work and its really easy to get sucked into things that needing to get done. Between the meetings, education and field work, at the end of those long days it’s important to remember to take some time to relax and enjoy the time away.

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