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Abigail in Ashton

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

Hello, my name is Abigail Lewis and I am a rising senior at Colgate University majoring in Environmental Studies with a double minor in Geography and Public Health. While my childhood was split between Atlanta and Philadelphia, my real home always felt like my grandmother’s beach house in Margate City, NJ. I would spend hours in the water, whether it be boogie boarding, splashing my brother, building sand castles, or just sitting in low tide feeling the waves gently wash over my legs. While I wouldn’t say that I qualified as “passionate” about the environment at this young age, my younger self would appear to disagree. A few years ago, my parents found my fourth grade yearbook where I mentioned how future Me wanted to help save endangered species and make a “greener” world. Truth be told, not much has changed nearly ten years later.

While I had always been interested in preserving the environment, I never knew how to act on this passion; while applying to colleges, I always thought I would take a few environmental classes for fun, but never thought I could make a career out of it. That was until I actually got to school and began taking classes like “Chemistry of the Altered and Natural Environment”, “Geographic Information Systems”, “Oceanography and the Environment” , and even a class simply called “Water”. These classes opened my eyes not only to my love of environmental conservation but also to a variety of career paths I had never even considered.

Pictured: The Conant boat ramp, one of the many accessible sites along the South Fork.

One of these opportunities came in the form of an internship opportunity with the Henry’s Fork Foundation. I was instantly drawn to HFF for its science-based approach to watershed management. I am so lucky to be this summer’s South Fork Initiative Access Catalog Intern. My job mainly consists of visiting all access sites along the South Fork of the Snake River and compiling any pertinent information, such as amenities at each site or any fees involved, into a comprehensive document. From there I plan to create an interactive map for public recreational use.

My days so far have consisted of doing research on the different organizations who maintain each boat launch or camp site, and I have recently began going down to the river to see each site in person. While the majority of my field work is independent, my mentor, Dave Weskamp, and I do plan to spend several days floating different parts of the river and even camping in one of the many available campsites!

In my spare time, some of the other interns and I have enjoyed exploring Ashton and the several walking and biking trails around town. We have a bunch of fun trips planned in the coming weeks to all of the amazing nearby attractions like the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, as well as some more local events like a weekly music festival and a few festivals. And, of course, I also plan to spend time on the beautiful Henry’s Fork fishing and floating.

Pictured left to right: the other interns and I exploring Ashton; the beginning of the Henry’s Fork at its headwaters in Big Springs; cows!!!

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