Okay, so a few of you might already know that I got a job!!! But just for the summer! Since this is my last summer as a student, I wanted to get out there and do something related to my degree. So since the end of May, I wander around the forest looking for plants!
I'm working as a seasonal Biological Sciences Technician in Botany w/ the USFS on the Eldorado National Forest. Basically, I survey areas of the forest where they are getting ready to implement some type of project, usually fuel modification (cutting or thinning for fire prevention). I'm looking for sensitive or invasive plants. If sensitive (threatened or endangered) plants are found, the projects have to stay away from that area. The invasives are recorded and possibly removed or controlled. So far have found more weeds than sensitive!
Essentially, myself and another person are sent to spots on a map, we navigate in and around on foot w/ compass and map (no trails! We have a Trimble, but most of the time it doesn't get any signal. It's really just for recording our findings!). Some of the areas are flagged w/ tape, which does help! Haven't gotten lost yet!! I bought myself a handheld GPS and last week got the map for it. It works better than the Trimble....I told my boss the Trimble was a piece of crap! He just sighed! He wants a GPS like mine!! The GPS is cool for getting around quickly, but I prefer to use the compass so I can learn to use it well!! Besides, batteries can die!!
Have to wear the hard hat and the vest w/ gear. Actually, the hard hat has been really good because alot of the time we are literally bushwacking through thick manzanita, thorny ceanothus or dense young conifer growth on old plantations! So I tip my head towards the bushes and go!
Interstingly, it is an easy but hard job, interesting but boring!