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A Summer of Firsts

If I made a list of things I’d never done before this summer, it would be several pages long. This summer was my first working in the field, my first time using a turbidimeter, the first time I’d ever even heard of an ADCP unit. It was also my first time in Idaho, my first multi-day road trip, and my first time at a rodeo. When I first arrived in Ashton in early June, I could not have imagined what summer had in store for me. Now, 10 weeks later, I have learned and experienced so many new things! My position with the Henry’s Fork Foundation is my first internship and my first job related to my major of Conservation Biology. It has been a great introduction to field work and working for a fisheries management organization. Coming from the wet and humid forests of New England, arid eastern Idaho was quite a different climate. I learned about water rights, how important irrigation is for successful agriculture in the west, and what that means for protecting the Henry's Fork River as both a water source and a fishery. Working out on the river every day opened my eyes to the many factors that influence water management and how they affect those who rely on the river for livelihood and pleasure.

The Warm River as viewed from the Warm River Rail Trail (left), (below) conservation technician Amber Roseberry and I taking water samples and cleaning the sonde housing at Box Canyon.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and even more grateful for the people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. My mentor Rob Van Kirk guided me through my work and let me in on some of his favorite cycling routes around Ashton. Each morning I headed out with Amber into the field to tackle whatever challenges the day would throw at us, and when I came back in the afternoon the intern group always had something fun planned! We cooked and played music, went hiking and fishing, visited national parks and local events; there was always something to look forward to!

(Below) Some of the interns with HFF’s 4th of July Parade Float, (right) the intern crew (and Jasper!) take on the Devil’s Staircase in the Jedediah Smith Wilderness.

Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and this summer is no exception. I hope to take all that I’ve learned this summer back to St. Lawrence for my next two years there, and far into the future beyond. I don’t know yet what’s in store for me after college, but my summer with HFF has given me priceless experience to take with me on my way.

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