The First Week on the Job

Well, I am finally settled here in Grand Junction and it has been a wonderful experience so far.  I am sharing a rental close to the internship site with another DOE intern.  She’s great; she is a graduate student from Texas and we are getting along pretty well.  The rental that this internship program acquired for Cherylin and myself is FANTASTIC!   It is actually a model home.

Check out the kitchen!  My jaw dropped when I stepped into this place.  My roommate and I both couldn’t believe that we would be spending the next two months here.  We are very fortunate.  I won’t want to leave when this internship ends!

My first week at work went very well.  I finally met the people I had been talking to over the phone for the past couple of weeks.  Everyone is happy that Cherylin and I will be spending the summer with them.  The first day of work consisted of getting settled into my office (yes, my very own office…wow), meeting the federal employees and contractors, obtaining badges, completing computer training, and attending the weekly ice cream social.  The next day my supervisor briefed us on activities for June and July and expectations for our selected term projects.  I am still researching the focus of my term project, but I will update you as soon as I figure it out.  Next week we will be attending the Navajo & Hopi Cultural Awareness Training.  Since some DOE sites are on tribal lands, this is very pertinent.  I’ll also get to tag along on inspections of sites in Nevada and Utah.  This is going to be a great summer…but what did I do to deserve all this?

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Hunting for Horses

So I know that I am here to study horses but I just can’t help myself with all the wild flowers.  Below is a picture of one of my 2 year olds -Cache.  I have been taking him out into the park once a week to ride and look for horses.  The other photo is of a stallion named Blaze.   With a left blue eye, roan color, wild hair and big presence, he’s everything you would hope a wild stallion to be.  This ecosystem is so diverse and I am amazed by something everyday. This morning I saw a mother turkey with her brood.  They were walking up a hill and took off in flight and perched up in a tree.  These babies are the size of my fist and they can already fly.  Pretty cool.  The project is going well.  We have a young foal with a broken leg and it’s been hard to watch her struggle to keep up with mom and the rest of the band. The horses here are treated as wild animals as they live and die by the laws of the land…something very hard to get accustomed to with a background heavily dependent on fixing things and ending suffering. I hope the coyotes take her soon so she doesn’t have to try to survive any longer.  The Bad Lands are rough and unforgiving in such ways.  The people here are survivors, the cattle thrifty and the wildlife strong.  You have to be tough if you are going to make it in this place.

Greetings from Alanna in horse country!

The last week has been busy with learning to recognize different horses and bands by sight, and the proper way to fill out all the paperwork for the study.  Last week Drs. Dan Baker and Jenny Powers (the study coordinators) visited TRNP, as well as Jason Ransom, an expert in wild horse behaviors, and it was extremely valuable to get their input on various behaviors witnessed.  Last Sunday I attended a cattle branding, which was a fun way to get in the North Dakota spirit!  I’ve been spending a lot of time learning the ropes with my coworker Heidi Garbe, and my summer roommate/coworker Lindsey Eby, who is also blogging this summer.  Lindsey and I are staying in a cute little cabin 15 miles from Medora, in the middle of the countryside, so it’s been nice waking up to quiet and wildlife every morning here.  I’ll end with that, but have a few more horse pics!

Week Two in the Dakotas

Hi everyone,

I’m not sure what happened to the posting last time but I must have just entered the pictures.  Anyway, I’ll re-introduce myslef….I am Lindsey and just finished my second year in the DVM program at Colorado State.  I am working on the GnRH immunocontraceptive vaccine research in Medora, North Dakota with the wild horses of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I will be posting every FRiday and hope you enjoy all the wonderful photos I have gathered.  We have seen a few successful copulations in some of the bands and so our goal of recording reproductive behavior in theses horses is being achieved!  This week I rode all three of my horses out to find a few of the more aloof bands.  I hope you follow my posts this summer and I will hope to share some of the more interesting things I come across…..Oh, and I saw my first ratteler today:)  It’s some wild country!

North Dakota News

So, I am officially a Junior !!! Yeah! Here are some photos of this last week here in North Dakota. I am working on an immunocontraceptive vaccine trial study in the wild horses in Theadore Roosevelt National Park. My days are spent tracking horses and recording reporductive behaviors. I live on a ranch 15 miles south of Medora,ND where I get to help out with chores and AI cows on my days off. We just branded on Sunday and they let me rope off my horse which was a lot of fun! I’ll be chiming in at least once a week to update you on what cool things I have seen here in the park but in the meantime, here are some fun pictures of the Badlands….what a great place to spend the summer:)

-Lindsey

T Minus One Week

Hello readers! My name is Maddy. I am interning with the United States Department of Energy this summer in Grand Junction, Colorado (a 5 hour drive from Fort Collins).  It is an 8 week rotational internship. I am still in the process of getting set-up and packed, but I am so thankful I will have this experience! I am a senior environmental health major at Colorado State University and this degree requires completion of a 300-hour internship. I completed an internship with the Indian Health Service and US Public Health Service last summer, but it is this current one that will count for credit. I will be posting updates twice a week about my experience this summer.  Looking forward to adventures, learning, and fresh fruit!

Hello from ND!

Hello everyone, and greetings from Medora, North Dakota!  My name is Alanna Kirby, and I will be a second year veterinary student at CSU starting this fall.  I’m interested in equine medicine, and this summer I’m working for two months in the wilds of the badlands. I have been hard at work from my first day here, traveling throughout Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) in search of feral horses.  The project I am working on this summer involves monitoring behaviors of feral horses in the park enrolled in a fertility control study.  TRNP houses elk, bison, deer, pronghorn, rattlesnakes, and of course the feral horses, although the park is not home to any natural predators.  This has led to an increased number of animals within the park, and more than the environment can sustain.  Thus, the concept of fertility control measures are being explored, where mares are given a vaccine to prevent them from becoming pregnant for a period of time.  Although this is a good idea, researchers want to be sure that the vaccine is not causing any unwanted behavioral changes between the horses in the various bands, or groups, which is what I’ll be studying.  I’ve posted a few neat pictures, and I’ll keep the blog updated with my ongoing adventures!