Brandon Mersich here with my last blog update on the Malheur National Forest AmeriCorps position. The end of the internship is almost here. The snow is starting to fly, and I am trying to finish all my projects before I take off.
On the forest, I have been trying to finish fixing the last of the trails before the rest of the seasonal employees leave. Over the summer season, our crew reorganized, built and added new site posts for the campgrounds. Once the fire season ended and the campers cleared out for hunting, we were able to get into the campsites and fall/ buck hazard trees before they caused damage. In September, I joined other volunteers and agency employees from Forest Service Region 6 for a project that involved surveying and mapping campsites, heritage sites, and trail conditions in the North Fork John Day Wilderness.
In October the Pacific Northwest VetsWork cohort returned to the Mt. Adams Institute for a quarterly training. We participated in a service project with Yakama Nation Fisheries to eradicate invasive species around the mouth of the White Salmon River. After that, we went out with a local mycologist to forage for mushrooms. We were mainly looking for Chanterelles, but collected some extra ones to identify. At the end of the week they held an insightful discussion about the AmeriCorps education award and provided a training on navigating the USAjobs employment platform.
Outside of work, I have been taking a ton of photos of the landscape and wildlife. My friends and I have gone fishing, camping, and exploring the land for fossils and obsidian. I’ve spent most of my weekends traveling around small towns in eastern Oregon and visiting the bigger cities like Portland and Seattle. I look forward to the rest of my time here on the Malheur National Forest and thank the Mt. Adams Institute for this awesome opportunity.
Back to work!