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We are happy to welcome Nicholas Murray to the Conservation Research team. Nick joins us from Camas, Washington, where he will be going into his senior year of high school. This is the seventh year that IAE has sponsored a high school intern through the Apprenticeship in Science and Engineering Program (ASE). The ASE program provides 8-week, full time internships and connects motivated high school students with mentors in pre-professional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Nick has written below about one of his first field projects– monitoring of Kincaid’s lupine at Oak Basin, a BLM site in the Coburg Hills. In addition to monitoring rare plants, and plant communities…he also got a chance to hold his first chicken.
During the Weeks of June 27th- July 8th, we traveled up to Oak Basin, outside of Brownsville, Oregon, to continue the monitoring of Kincaid’s lupine and Sisyrinchium hitchcockii. The three natural meadows have been monitored by the Conservation Research program of the Institute for Applied Ecology since 2006. Kincaid’s lupine is monitored because it is the host plant for the Fender’s blue butterfly. The butterfly lays its eggs on the lupine, and the larvae feed on the plant. Kincaid’s lupine is listed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a threatened species.
Throughout the three weeks, we measured the foliar coverage of Kincaid’s lupine in the meadows. Foliar coverage is simply how much meadow surface the lupine occupies. This was achieved by imagining the lupine as a rectangle and measuring the lupines’ X and Y measurements with rulers in a multitude of plots throughout the three meadows. Plots were established in previous years to encompass all known areas in which lupine exist within the meadows. The data which we recorded will be added to the growing database on Kincaid’s Lupine at Oak Basin in the coming weeks.