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Day in the Life of a Hydrology Intern

This is a peek into my day working on watershed analysis for Henry's Fork Foundation. I study Environmental Systems Engineering with a freshwater focus at Stanford University and it has been a pleasure to spend my days diving deep into the numbers of the Henrys Fork watershed. This summer has been one of hardwork, adventures, solitude, and community. Working here has been a blast and I hope you see why after reading about my day at work !


6:10 I wake up in the intern suite.

6:13 I fell asleep again. Oops.

6:50 Wake up again in a panic. Grab leftovers for breakfast, pour over coffee for the road, and run out to the HFF trucks where Jack McLaren loads up out measuring equipment and motor boat.

7:08 Drive to Island Park Reservoir in tired silence sipping coffee.

7:40 Arrive at Island Park Dam, begrudgingly wade up my thighs to put in the boat.

Island Park Reservoir sampling early in the morning

8:00 Configure *sonde and portable measuring interface to take measurements and take off across the cool, flat water.

*A sonde is one of our sensors that measure water quality (temperature, chlorophyll, turbidity, etc) all around the Henry’s Fork, but this one is portable.

8:15 Measure water quality at various depths around the reservoir, stare at the cows and clouds as we zoom by, point out the craziest lakehouse, and *throw a few spin casts.

*time permitting

9:45 Return to the boat ramp, cheeks red from the wind. Load up and head back to HFF with a far chattier drive back.

10:30 Arrive back to HFF and unload sonde, boat, and other equipment.

10:45 Check in with Sarah on daily assignments. Maybe banter a bit too.

11:00 Take an early lunch ! Sit in the alley with your tomato sandwich behind the intern suite to photosynthesize a bit.

11:45 Return to the intern office to sit down for an afternoon of computer work, starting by checking email.

12:00 Open ARCGIS and R to jump back in to your most recent assignment: to make charts of the types of forested landcover in each subwatershed on the Henrys Fork watershed and graph annual evapotranspiration and “green up” trends of disturbed forest in the Henrys Fork watershed.

12:30 Realize the mistake you made yesterday and spend the next hour going back to fix it.

1:00 Wait for ARCGIS to load the huge amounts of data you just asked it to process.

1:20 Google “how to plot linear regressions in R” because you forgot to pay attention in Statistics 101.

1:30 Send charts to Sarah for approval. Pat yourself on the back.

2:00 Discover a simpler way to display the data. Resend your results to Sarah.

2:20 Get feedback from Sarah about the functionality and language of the chart. Implement it.

2:30 Send charts to Sarah and ask for your next assignment. Get an assignment and a warm chamomile tea.

2:40 Start on a new map to display the potential aquifer recharge zones for Teton Valley managed aquifer recharge program.

3:00 Check the time and tell yourself you will only work for a few more minutes to complete the polygon splicing even though the day is over.

4:25 Get too frustrated to keep going and check the time to realize you’ve been working overtime. Oops !

4:30 Head back to the intern suite to make a snack before your evening fishing adventure.

6:45 Finally head out to the river for a quick fish and a dip if it is warm enough.

An evening of under bridge fishing

8:45 Return cold and tired only to make a delicious dinner of beans, rice, tortillas, and veggies, and get ready for a not-quite-long-enough slumber.

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