My internship is a follow-up to my internship I did last year with
the United States Forest Service (USFS). I updated pamphlets on two native plant
demonstration areas they maintain. I re-worked on the pamphlet I created last
year for the native plant demonstration area outside of the Blue Mountain Humane
Society (BMHS). I also updated another pamphlet created several years ago for
the demonstration area outside of the Tollgate Visitor Center.
Betsy and I are met once a week in order to put several hours of work in on the pamphlets. I met her at the USFS office and use one of the computers there. This worked out very nicely because it ensures that I make several hours of progress a week. Last year I did much of my work individually and sometimes fell behind. We had several time conflicts that meant Betsy and I could not meet due to our various time commitments (orals week for instance). We eventually worked out a meeting time on Thursday that worked for both of us. There have been some technical difficulties with the computers because most of their equipment is getting on in years and Microsoft Publisher is a large program to run. There are no current plans to upgrade the equipment as their funding has recently been cut. Betsy often points a finger at the Bush administration.
I really enjoyed the work environment at the USFS office. It was very relaxed and you can work at your own pace. When we met on Fridays the office was very quite as many people work four 10 hour days and take three day weekends, furthering the quite relaxed atmosphere. I eventually became a familiar face around the office to many people there and I felt welcomed. I liked many aspects of the office but I still felt it was rather bland and there were too many cubicles. I often heard others talking about various field work (some joked about getting me to do some grunt work), which would make a job there much more appealing. However, I would have to learn more about the various jobs with USFS before making any sort of decision.
Betsy and the Native Plant Society have been my key contacts. They did a much better job this time of documenting the new plants they added to the demonstration areas, which is huge time saver. Last year we needed to get a botanist to help us identify the plants at the BMHS, which meant we had to wait well into the semester when most of the plants were in bloom. This year I was able to get right to work on the pamphlets on Microsoft Publisher. The Native Plant Society also contacted me about creating PowerPoint presentation for them but it was the week of my orals as well as two tests and I could not commit the time. They had someone else create it due to their time constraints.
I began with working on the pamphlet for the Tollgate Visitor Center. I had to eliminate one plant from the pamphlet because it died out, and I added several other plants that had been added since the pamphlet was first created. This included researching the plants and writing up short blurbs on the species, as well as finding line drawings to accompany each. Betsy and I decided to scrap the old, large map and create a smaller new one. The old one was way too big for the small planting area and did not convey much information.
I did similar work on the pamphlet for the Blue Mountain Humane Society demonstration area I created a year ago. Several plants died but many more have been added. The problem with this pamphlet was that it was already completely full of plant descriptions. It took some serious reworking to make it sufficiently informative and still user-friendly. I spent a lot of time working with font sizes and spacing between descriptions and I eventually fit all of the species that currently exist. However, I had to shrink the map for this pamphlet as well. There are many plans and ideas of what to do with the space at the Blue Mountain Humane Society. It is going to be very difficult in future years to fit everything on the pamphlet without adding another page. One idea I toyed with but didn’t need to use was grouping related species and giving them broader descriptions.
We intended on having the pamphlets professionally printed this time around. Betsy tried to set up a meeting time for me with him but he never responded. We had trouble contacting him throughout the semester and I don’t have professionally printed copies to turn in. However, Betsy is fine with that given her timeframe. I really hope that this works out since Betsy informed me that the pamphlet I created last year helped secure funds for the area, which made me proud. She also says she has trouble keeping the pamphlets in stock, which is also exciting. Knowing that what I produce matters to people other than myself really helps kept me motivated to work hard at this. Overall I am pleased with the pamphlets Betsy and I produced with a printer, some nice paper and a Xerox machine. I really enjoyed working with her over the past year and a half and hope to stay in contact.