04 August 2021

Wrapping Up

Written by: Allison Fink

The last days of my internship are wrapping up, and I cannot believe how fast the summer has gone by. Over the past 11 weeks, I’ve traveled to three different states, learned about threatened and endangered plant species in the region, and collected over 28,000 seeds for species preservation.

This internship has required flexibility and adaptation. When I got hired on, the plan was to focus on two species, Sclerocactus mesae-verdae and Astragalus humillimus. Gratefully, allocations were made so that we could include two other species from different regions, Erigeron rhizomatus and Eriogonum gypsophilum. This required extra planning, but it meant I got to expand my knowledge and collect even more seeds.

Similarly, the time it took to clean the seeds was underestimated, and due to the time constraints of my internship, there are a few collection sites with pending data. As a result, I learned the power of asking for help, and was able to slightly expedite the process. I also found a way to meaningfully describe the data, even if it is incomplete. 

Out of all the wonderful things I got out of my time as a DFP, my favorite is the amount of people I’ve met and had the opportunity to work with, whether it was managerial support or out in the field doing collections. I’ve met people from a wide variety of backgrounds, from other DOI employees, to Americorps volunteers, to tribal species experts. Hearing their stories and learning about their work has opened my eyes to the vast opportunities I’ll have once I graduate, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this entire experience.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office

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