Beginning the Summer with Henry’s Fork Foundation
Hi! My name is Chloe Perel and I am the Farms & Fish intern at the Henry’s Fork Foundation
this summer. My independent project will be focusing on irrigation and water resources
sociology. I am a rising senior at Brown University concentrating in Environmental Science but, as I have gone through college, my coursework has oriented my interests more around agriculture and sustainable development.
When friends and family asked me about my summer plans, I honestly did not expect that I
would be proclaiming my plans to go to Ashton, Idaho, a town best known for being the world'’s largest seed potato-producing area. Five other interns and I are fortunate enough to answer as such, much to the confusion of any inquiring party. However, here in week four, I remain more and more confident in my decision to come to Idaho this summer. One of the main reasons I
looked to the Henry’s Fork Foundation for internship opportunities was the chance to gain immersive experience in the conservation field. A significant part of my college education has been dedicated to learning about sustainable agriculture practices, but there is only a finite
amount of understanding that can be achieved in the classroom without being exposed to the current reality of our nation’s production systems.
My mentors Christina Morrisett and Daniel Wilcox were gracious enough to take me on a tour of the watershed to see directly how different farms operate on different kinds of land within the region. It became readily apparent that my prior experience working on an 11-acre farm in western Rhode Island was simply not representative of the vast majority of agriculture in America, where large-scale farms account for roughly half of production. Prior to the tour, I had known the watershed was large, but while we were driving it in near-entirety, it was put into perspective just how astounding it is that rivers and streams miles away from each other still affect one another. From an irrigation standpoint, it was interesting to drive the length it takes for
water to reach its destination.
This internship will also grant me the opportunity to directly engage with irrigation entities in the area through interviews to better understand the story of when, where, and why flood-to-sprinkler conversions have taken place in the Henry’s Fork watershed. Something that was reiterated in the internship’s communication course is how imperative it is to understand the
reasoning behind behaviors if we are to collaborate in working towards watershed conservation and sustainable agriculture. I’m truly so excited about all I’m going to learn this summer!