Federal Land Management: An Intern’s Point of View
My name is Karen, a summer intern with the Bureau of Land Management’s Division of Decision Support, Planning, and NEPA in the Washington, D.C. office. I graduated from Michigan State University this spring with a Bachelor’s degree in zoology, though I am a native of the Chicago suburbs. I have an interest in wildlife conservation, and more recently realized my interest in the way humans interact with the environment, and how we use science to make environmental decisions. This realization led me to a summer program about natural resource policy, and my internship with the BLM.
Coming from the Midwest, I had no previous experience with, or knowledge of, the Bureau of Land Management. I was shocked to learn about the 245 million surface acres that are managed by the BLM – How had I never heard of this agency?! I spent some time scouring their website, specifically learning about the Greater Sage-grouse Conservation Planning effort, which I would be involved with. The BLM is in the process of revising and amending their Resource Management Plans to better conserve the sage-grouse’s sagebrush steppe habitat, and hopefully prevent a listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This effort involves contributions from field offices in eight of the Western states, and the Division of Planning and NEPA is in charge of overseeing the plan revisions. This was a great opportunity for me to learn about how the nation’s public lands are managed, as well as the huge variety of activities that occur on those lands.
The Greater Sage-grouse Planning Effort is a complex process, and I spent my time reviewing draft plans, summarizing important information from the revisions, and organizing underlying plan information. I learned so much this summer, not only in the office, but also while I explored the Capital. There’s nothing quite like being in Washington for Independence Day celebrations! I value my summer working for the Bureau of Land Management, and I hope to one-day visit our public lands out West.