The Future of Natural Resource Monitoring

Hi my name is Anashay Esquibel. I am a freshman at the Pecos Connections Academy. I am an intern here at the Upper Chama SWCD and River Source. My job description includes taking coordinates, identifying noxious weeds, and giving recommendations and solutions for landowner/land managers’ noxious weed problems. The responsibilities I received when I became an intern were: 1) asking the landowner questions to get to know the land better,  2) asking the landowner what their concerns were, 3) monitoring and mapping the concerned areas, and 4) providing the landowners with maps and tools to obtain assistance. I have to find out what they use the land for so we know if the landowner will have to move their cattle or be careful with their crops. I used apps to mark locations and identify different noxious weeds. I also learned a lot more about our local lands and the issues that we have in our county. I helped give suggestions on how to improve the use of their land by helping them get rid of the noxious weeds.

     The experience that I have had with the Upper Chama SWCD and River Source was a great learning experience. The staff here at the Upper Chama SWCD and River Source were very welcoming and helpful. They took their time to explain and help us learn at our own pace. I enjoyed that they treated us like employees instead of students. They also cared about our well-being, we did daily check-ins and had great communication with all of the staff. I enjoyed working with my fellow interns in the field and in the office. If I had to choose between working in the office and working in the field I would for sure pick working in the field because you get to see new places and you get hands-on learning experiences. While working in the field we came across new things, like new plants and differences between the lands based on elevation, soil conditions, and other environmental factors. For instance, we were monitoring soil conditions, management practices, and how much rainfall the property receives. I noticed that the further South we were, the more Chicory and Russian knapweed and the further North we were the more Thistle we saw, mainly Canada and Musk thistle.

    We had several apps to help us identify weeds and mark points, which made it so much easier to collect data not only for the landowner but for us as well. We learn about what noxious weeds are in that area. It was interesting to see what weeds are at different elevations in our county. In Tierra Amarilla I grew up seeing these weeds and not thinking they were an issue  until I came to this internship. This internship changed my perspective completely on how I thought about weeds. Now that I know that these weeds are causing issues for our local landowners, it makes you want to find a way to get rid of them.

  We worked on water sampling along the south side of the Rio Chama river, we took bug samples as well. All the information that we gathered on the river rafting trip is sent to CNM. When CNM sends back the results of the water quality and bug identification we can determine what kind of bugs live in our local water and what conditions our local water. This river rafting trip came with a lot of new information and great memories. The things I learned on this rafting trip include how to raft (of course!), how to collect data on the environment around us, and how we affect the water and land.

       I enjoyed this internship so much. I learned many new things, like the different lands we visited and the different weeds we saw. I also learned how to fly a drone, and met many new people. I would definitely come back to this internship.