The Unknown Side of Nature

Hello, my name is Catrina Garcia and I experienced a lot at this internship with River Source. I learned how to use mapping and learned how to identify plants. Like which ones were noxious weeds. Like musk, bull thistle, and chicory. The main noxious weeds we saw were thistle. The way we identified plants was by using identification books. The ranches we went to needed help. It takes a lot of work to get rid of the noxious weeds.

Did you know that there were even such a thing as noxious weeds? Because I didn’t until I started this internship. I feel if people knew about noxious weeds we could get rid of them or even prevent them from spreading. There is so much we can do before it gets worse. Simply letting people know that this is a problem for ranchers can have a big impact. There are new apps that we created to help collect data for the producers and they can collect it too if they want.

We learned how to map and mark points where the noxious weeds were. We used were the app Survey 123, which was made just before we started working. We are the first interns to use this app! The other apps that we used that helped us were my maps and google maps. Each app helped in its own way like. For example, Survey 123 was used to do the reports, while my maps and google maps were used to put points where the noxious weeds where.

Rio Chama River rafting trip with interns from the Watershed Academy at River Source

We even learned about the soil and the different types of soil at each spot. There is so much to learn about the soil, like how the rain helps move calcium carbonate through the soil. You can discover a lot by just digging into the soil and looking at each layer. The soil can tell you different things like if there was a river here at one point, hundreds of years ago. The soil records these different events and processes in layers. Just by digging around a little bit, it’s possible to see if the soil is good or not good and if it there is moisture in the ground.

We even installed some pictures posts. These are posts that we can take pictures of the land monitor how the land changes over time. Pictures posts help you learn about the aspects of the land and how it does change. When you do this you take photos over a long period of time. We will try and take pictures of every season before and after to see the changes and see how the weather can affect the land. We got to put two on my property in Cebolla, NM. I can’t wait to go back and take more pictures before winter.

We also learned how to fly a drone and take videos and map the land from a bird’s eye view.  It’s the fastest and easiest way to map the land. We used a drone to map each landowners property.

Everything we did interning these two weeks helped landowners figure out how we can help them get rid of the noxious weeds. Telling them what we can do or even what they can try and do. Like using goats or sheep to help them get rid of this noxious weeds – because you know goats and sheep will eat nearly anything!

We wrapped up the internship by rafting and camping along the Chama River. It was so fun to go rafting. We also flew the drone on the trip. We learned how to take water quality samples, and (of course) how to raft! I loved it so much I could see myself being a rafting guide in the summer months.