This week, we traveled to Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Big Horn County Montana to do vegetation monitoring. The purpose of vegetation monitoring is to determine whether vegetation composition, structure and condition are changing over time due to climate and/or in response to a management intervention. I learned how to I.D. several grasses, trees and shrubs, along with how to determine cover class percentage.  We camped at the Ewing Snell Historic Ranch Site. Big Horn Canyon was absolutely breathtaking. Everything from the wildlife to the landscape was mesmerizing. It was an honor and a privilege to have been able to work in such a beautiful place. I had a very close encounter with a black bear and her two cubs. After a long day of monitoring, we returned to our campsite, and these three bears walked right behind our tents! We also encountered wild horses, scorpions, antelope, and a rattlesnake which I nearly stepped on while surveying one of our plots! I have learned so much in such a small amount of time and I owe it all to the supportive, passionate and knowledgeable staff with whom I work. There hasn’t been a dull moment since I began this internship and I look forward the adventures and experiences yet to come.

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