Field Diaries - Christina

A Pronghorn runs through a field of tobosagrass as storm clouds gather on the horizon (photo by Christina Partipilo).

A Pronghorn runs through a field of tobosagrass as storm clouds gather on the horizon (photo by Christina Partipilo).

I have worked on IAE’s seed crew before, but this is my first time in the American Southwest.  These past few weeks have been a flurry of learning strange new species, keying out grasses, and getting my hands dirty in the field.  As if that wouldn’t keep me busy enough, New Mexico is full of new sights, sounds, and smells.

Last week, our crew was out in the Chihuahuan Desert in search of alkali sacaton and other grass species.  Our hitch was very eventful, and included lots of grass seed collections and getting caught in a rainstorm.

So far this season, pollinators have been our constant companions.  As someone who has spent their life on the West coast, the diversity of pollinators here has me completely floored.  From birds, to moths, to bees masquerading as flies, the pollinators have us surrounded during our collections.

A White-lined Sphynx Moth nectars on a Polanisia dodecandra flower (Redwhisker clammyweed)

A White-lined Sphynx Moth nectars on a Polanisia dodecandra flower (Redwhisker clammyweed)

I feel like I’m adjusting well to this new position, and look forward to all the surprises the rest of the season is sure to bring on.