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A Very SOS Year at the San Juan Islands National Monument

A group of people holding books observing plants in the field.
Blog Entry by Jennifer McNew, CLM Intern, BLM Oregon/Washington 2015. Photo by BLM.

This year I am very happy to be handling the Seeds of Success program at San Juan Islands National Monument.

Seeds of Success is almost completely new to the San Juan Islands NM.  Before last summer neither I nor the full time employees of our office had a clear understanding of the program.  That changed when I attended the Chicago Botanic Garden’s CLM intern workshop.  Hearing from Peggy Olwell and Megan Haidet, I was inspired by what I learned about SOS and was more than keen to get a collection team started for our islands.

I started working for San Juan SOS two weeks ago and have been intensely busy since. Week one was spent at the National Native Seed Conference in Santa Fe, where I met a number of incredible people, learned a hundred things about seed. Week two I have been meeting with partners, making lists, visiting sites, and teaching school children about monitoring.

The most rewarding part of the past week was talking to a group of 5th graders from our local school.  I am by no means a  skilled educator or kid wrangler, but it is amazing to see and help children think critically about the natural world around them.