Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First day of my first internship

I started my internship with the Friends of Buford Park/Mt. Pisgah here in Eugene today. I am officially a Habitat Restoration Intern at an amazing park located about 15 minutes away (by car) from my home. I have previously visited this park for field trips with various classes, as well as for the Mushroom Festival that is held at the Arboretum. Buford Park occupies 2,300 acres of land situated between the Middle Fork and Coastal Forks for the Willamette River. It contains riparian forests, dense fir forests and some absolutely AMAZING oak savannas and prairies.

I'm so excited about getting my hands dirty again!  I'll be spending 2 days a week for the next 10 weeks helping in the native plant nursery learning (and best of all, DOING) seasonal propagation and maintenance operations including planting, irrigation, weeding, harvesting, sales, and record keeping.  I'll also have the opportunity to learn to identifying characteristics for dozens of native plants in different stages of development. I'm particularly interested in the planning that goes into this sort of restoration and nursery operation and plan to ask about it after I get enough info about the basics of my tasks.

It was raining this morning when I arrived. There were about half a dozen other students there and so I began introducing myself around to everyone. In addition to the students, I met Jessica, the volunteer coordinator, and Hal, the man who makes all the magic happen.

Jessica and Hal gave us a brief overview of the mission and operations of the Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah. Most importantly, they explained that while Lane County owns the park, that the Friends complete most of the habit restoration and maintenance for the property. Further, I learned that the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum only holds a lease on a small parcel of the land from the county.

We took a tour of the greenhouse and talked about the seed starting operations and then moved out into the field/lot areas of the nursery. We talked about the non-native invasive plants that are starting to release seed and what was most important to remove from the gardens. Then, we got to work.

We weeded a large plant bed this morning that was FULL of weeds (plants that didn't belong there). It was supposed to be a bed of Grindelia integrifolia, Willamette Valley Gumweed. But it was full of just about everything else instead. There were six of us weeding for more than an hour and we only finished up about half of it! I'm looking forward to seeing a bed full of these: 

After that, we split up into different tasks. I helped with dividing large pots of Juncus petans, Common Spreading Rush. We planted small sprigs of the divided plant into one gallon pots and then moved all of them to the shade lot area for rushes.

Before I knew it, I was dirty and time was up. This morning was a rainy start to what will hopefully be a fantastic internship.

I'm looking forward to being out there on days like this: