This summer was a fantastic opportunity to learn about what field research and science actually looks like in practice as opposed to just in hypotheticals. I’ve also gotten the great opportunity to see a lot of different aspects of the science, from the field research to the office work. I’ve gotten to do stream restoration at Rifle Ranch, rare plant surveying, lotic AIM research in Casper, Wyoming, and lentic AIM research in Walden, Colorado. I also got to do some work in the office such as inputting field data and learning about data modeling, from programming them and implementing them in GIS software to running the models to reviewing them.
The most memorable and interesting hitch of the summer was Lotic AIM in Casper, Wyoming. AIM research is used to give the BLM data to help them better their land management practices. The data we took included things like insect collection, stream width, stream depth, and human influence. It was also extremely interesting to see the huge variety of streams in the area and the variety of stream health as well.
In the office, I really enjoyed the data modeling portion of the office work. The programming and GIS work was super interesting. I got to see different parts of the process: the programming, running the models, and reviewing the models. It was super interesting to see all that goes into making models for natural resource management.