Ecological monitoring with the Guild

Photo of Brian with field work equipment on a high ridge forested area.Written by Brian LaRoche 

This summer I had the opportunity to work for the Guild as an ecological monitoring technician. This primarily consisted of fieldwork. I collected data on vegetation, trees, groundcover, wild bees, and more. The wild bee collection was something new for me and it turned out to be very interesting. The data I helped collect is the baseline pre-treatment monitoring data for the Rio Chama Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project (CFLRP). 

Throughout the summer I worked with a variety of people ranging from other field technicians at Mountain Studies Institute, to permanent Guild staff, to a youth crew from Coyote, NM. Working with a diverse group of partners in the field was a highlight of my experience because it allowed me to see our work from a variety of perspectives. I recently graduated from Oregon State University in June, where I had attended a few field courses. However, this summer I

Brian measuring tree heights

Guild technician Brian LaRoche measures tree heights near Canjilon, NM.

learned much more in the field than I did during those one- or two-week field courses. Working in a variety of ecotypes and forest types helped me improve my plant and tree identification for a larger landscape than what I have previously worked in. I observed how collaboration in natural resources takes place by attending the 2-3-2 Partnership’s quarterly meeting in August. Additionally, the variety of field sites allowed me to work in many beautiful natural areas that I may not have visited otherwise.  

This summer position allowed me to continue to develop skills such as gear preparation for field work, teamwork in fieldwork settings, GIS and map making, as well as tree and plant identification. Working at the Guild has been a great experience, especially because everyone at the Guild holds such great passion towards land stewardship. The people I worked with, both within and outside of the Guild, really made the experience memorable for me.