Fun at Yellowstone, now back to work


Team SPAW had an excellent trip to Yellowstone!  We drove just under 1000 miles, 200 of that within the park.  We saw lots of bison, a few elk, and a black bear.  Tourists are crazy around the wildlife, but nobody got hurt.  Tony and Shonna did an excellent job showing us around and making sure we were fed.  I thank them for all their hard work.  The hot springs and geysers around the park were awesome, although it was a little unnerving to think about the fact we were walking around on one of the largest volcanoes in the world.  We also got to visit Lewis and Clark Caverns which was really cool.  Now the fun is over and its back to work.

I love a ha! moments

I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my habitat suitability model for camas and had ran into a roadblock; making sense of the DNRC soils data for GIS.  I finally made a breakthrough today!  I had to go into Microsoft Access and enter in the proper query so Access would build the proper table, and after a few table joins with the soils layer, BAM!  Understandable soils data!  This made my day as I was getting pretty frustrated and worried as to how I would incorporate soils into my model.  Its kind of hard to make a plant habitat model without comprehensive soils data!  Other than that, I have just been working on my research paper.  I hope to have a preliminary model ready for the VC on Thursday.  Natashia has been conducting interviews with elders to identify where camas used to be.  I am looking forward to comparing my model with her results!



Hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday!  Barbeque and fireworks for me, it was a great time.  Yesterday we got to tour the inside of Kerr Dam’s power generation facility.  I have been to Kerr Dam many times, but I have never had an opportunity to see the inside.  I wanted to get some pictures, but we couldn’t take any inside the facility.  The pic above shows the outside.  After that we went to check out a waterfowl production facility south of Pablo.  There they are raising trumpeter swans and releasing them into the wild.  Trumpeter swans were once found all over this area but were hunted out by the early 1900s.  Other than that, we are just enjoying the heat!

ArcMap Data Almost Ready

Greetings from Montana.

This is my data preparation using Model Builder in ArcMap

This is my data preparation using Model Builder in ArcMap

TEAM SPAW has been pretty busy over the last week!  I have been learning a lot about plant identification at our various study sites on the Flathead Reservation.  The rest of the team has been working on soil and plant sampling, and I have been helping as much as I can.  Meanwhile, I almost have all my GIS data prepped and am getting ready to start analyzing trends and hopefully come up with a good habitat suitability model for blue camas.  I’ve included a picture of my model builder so far, it’s getting quite large and might have to start a second to ensure it operates smoothly.  I have run into a few problems, and I’m wondering if my polygons I made of existing camas stands are big enough.  I may have to start thinking of a different approach, but I have some help so hopefully we can come up with a solution by the end of the week.  Other than that, we also had bear training with Germain White from the tribe and also Zotero training.  I most likely spend most of this week fine tuning my research paper and working on my habitat suitability model.  Fun will include 4th of July with family and friends and Pow wow down in Arlee, MT.  Hope everyone is doing well!

Sweet Sunshine

Model_June23_2014The Sun has been out for a few beautiful days now, a wonderful thing.  Team SPAW hiked up into North Crow Canyon to see the lower falls. North Crow is at bankfull discharge.  It was a great sight!

I’ve spent sometime on preparing my habitat suitability model for Camassia quamash.  The process is not exciting, but here is my data preparation model as of today.


Week 2 for TEAM SPAW


It has been a great week for TEAM SPAW here in Montana.  We’ve had a lot of rain at the beginning of the week but the sun is finally shining.  We’ve been able to visit all of our study sites on the Flathead Reservation while getting in a little site seeing as well.  Survey training was fun, although very wet!  Wednesday was Natasha’s birthday and we had a nice little gathering at Tony’s house with a great dinner and ice cream cake.  Thursday was a great video conference, and I really look forward to learning more about the other REU intern’s projects.  Thursday we had our first nice day in a while, and spent the afternoon hiking up North Crow canyon west of Pablo, Montana.  I have really enjoyed showing off the various beautiful areas on the reservation to my fellow TEAM SPAW members.  The picture above shows TEAM SPAW as well as other students involved in the project.  The redish color on the rocks behind us are indian painted rocks near the Flathead River on the way to one of our study sites in Camas Prairie, Montana.  I really look forward to getting caught up on research over the weekend and am ready to hit next week running!