Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Maine DIFW Regional Wildlife Biologist Intern Week 5

February 13-February 19 "It's not all Fun and Games, Especially Since I Damaged my Boss's Truck"
I got stuck a few times.

I have something to admit folks; the dates really don't have much to do with what I actually write. I just take notes down in my IFW field notebook and notice that I often miss things from weeks before and will weave them in where appropriate. This is one of those examples.

A regional wildlife biologist job doesn't consist of all awesome things; there's often a lot of maintenance work that one would hope to escape in a job like this. But, alas, it is all a part of the job and is what keeps the ol' wildlife system working!

As you all know, we have got a lot of snow recently. A LOT of snow. And there are a lot of doors surrounding the office building. One of my days, already cut short from slow driving in after a class, was spent shoveling out the doorways to meet state codes to allow for fire escapes and yadda. The picture below is the deepest one I had to dig out.

Several weeks ago was another labor intensive task (my favorite), which was slightly more wildlife related. The state operates and manages Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) all throughout the state, and when a new parcel of land is acquired, we have to blaze the property lines to prevent any future confusion or accidental law violations. This involved walking out there with a machete, locating the line, and following it for about a mile while swinging the machete at any twig in the way of the line.

It seemed pretty easy at first, then we hit some really thick patches of young hemlock trees. Here's an example of what it looked like after we cut through; beforehand, imagine just not being able to see through, with your vision completely blocked by the boughs.
You can just barely make out the tunnel going through to the other side in the center.

We did, however, stumble across a new moose yard when we were out there, so that was exciting!

Finally, bad things happen.

For example, when I was doing Wood Duck boxes on my own one day, this happened.

Oftentimes they are preventable, and some are not. Almost everyone in the department has damaged a state vehicle in one way or another; my boss having flipped a snowmobile on his very first day, a colleague having ripped the skid plate off of a truck, a warden putting a big dent in the side from a tree, etc. I added myself to that list recently by absolutely scraping the heck out of the side of my boss's truck while trying to be thoughtful and moving it for him before we blocked him into the garage with the snowmobile trailer. I have now learned that even if your mirror makes it past the garage entrance, it doesn't mean that the rest of the vehicle will in the truck world.


Well done Greg.

No no really, good job.

I contacted my supervisor about this immediately (as any intern should) and left him a voicemail (it was approximately 6PM and everyone had gone home at this pont, except myself and my co-intern). I've learned that they really don't pick up their phones often and I have yet to see him or hear from him, so who knows what he things about it. I did at least offer to bring it to the garage in Augusta for repairs and back for him since it literally just came back from doing so.

In closing, I want to close with a memorium of this truck before I got my hands on it. Thank you all for coming.

-trumpet taps playing in the background followed by bagpipes-

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