It is hard to believe that I only have 7 months left in this internship. But as the saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”. Variety, in this case, drives the enjoyment I have taken from this job. As the invasive species specialist on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, I naturally have been dealing with plants in general, but my tenure here has been much more than that. In the last couple months I have been given the opportunity to burn a giant “slash pile” with the Darrington Ranger District (RD) burn boss, conduct hazard tree analysis at Horseshoe Cove Campground with the Mt. Baker RD permit administrator, oversee the Whatcom County Corrections Crew as they mowed a field of reed canary grass, helped supervise 50 7th and 8th graders while planting over 700 trees, co-hosted a “weed watchers” training event for the King County Noxious Weed Control Board at the North Bend RD, released Bruchidius villosus (a tiny beetle that eats Scotch broom at the Taylor Spawning Channel) and found a nice 5 point elk antler on the Skagit River.
Bruchidius villosus biocontrol
Whatcom County Correction Crew mowed a field of reed canary grass.
Planting Trees with Middle School Kids
I have seen elk, deer, coyote, eagle, bass, trout, steelhead, and a river otter. As weather has been warming up, so have the animal sightings. Although I have never been one to take a lot of pictures in the past, I feel that it is important to try and document this journey. Because of this I carry my camera with me everywhere I go; you never know when you only have a moment to snap a photo of something rare out here. I haven’t taken a good shot of deer or elk yet, they are fast and most of the time I see them at a distance. Still, I am waiting to get a good shot of a bear and a cougar, which it seems, are out there in good numbers. While conducting the hazard tree analysis I was shown a cougar kill site where the cougar killed a deer and buried it under the detritus in the area. On a log the animal scratched up you could clearly see four claw marks spanning eight inches across the paw. That’s a big cat and it’s one of the few animals in the region that I have never seen in the wild. It’s only a matter of time though.