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Farmland and Irrigation: A Birds-Eye View

Hello, my name is Andrea Holt and I am a senior at Oregon State University Ecampus. I am majoring in Geography and Geospatial Science with a certification in Geographical Information Systems. When I tell that to people, they usually seem confused, so I clarify it by saying “mapping”. What most people do not realize is that mapping is a large part of our everyday life, you just don’t see it. There isn’t a beautiful map on a wall that shows you terrain, state boundaries, or continents anymore so common perception is that maps are a thing of the past. In reality, the reason a new store opened in your town most likely involved mapping, the reason why the UPS truck took the route it did today is because of mapping, and the reason you vote in a certain district is, you guessed it, the result of mapping. These are just a few examples of how mapping applies to our daily life, and numerous organizations use mapping technology, including the Henry’s Fork Foundation.

My family farm in Western Kentucky. The farm is mostly dedicated to cattle, but we also have orchards, gardens, chickens, rabbits, and turkeys along with a few stocked ponds.

Why did I choose the Henry’s Fork Foundation summer internship program? I was raised on a beautiful farm in western Kentucky and spent most of my time playing in creeks as a child which evolved into playing in Kentucky Lake as I got older. Water has always been an integral part of my life. My first classes at Oregon State were soil science and water science, and after those two courses, I was hooked. With this passion for water and my education in mapping, the Farms and Fish Internship with HFF is a perfect fit. The first two weeks of the internship included courses on hydrology and statistical analysis with my mentor, Dr. Rob Van Kirk. These courses were perfect refreshers to kick off the start of my internship. Now, in my remaining weeks as an HFF intern, I will look at the Henry’s Fork from a birds-eye view. I will be using satellite imagery to determine a timeline of when farms in the area switched from flood irrigation to sprinkler irrigation.

My view of Ashton, Idaho from my computer screen in Georgia.

This birds-eye view is taking place from my home outside of Atlanta, Georgia. This remote internship may not be as exciting as floating down a river, but it has become part of my routine. Being an online student for the past 2 years has prepared me for Zoom meetings, hours in front of my laptop, and knowing when to go out and take in the sunshine. When I am not looking at farmland by the Henry’s Fork watershed, I enjoy volunteering for a nonprofit that concentrates on social justice, walking my two incredible greyhounds through the forests of Georgia, and traveling.

Photo of myself at Arches National Park in 2014, when the travel bug bit me.

Photo of Valle de Cocora with wax palms in the background, the national tree of Colombia. Central and South America hold a special place in my heart. Next term, I will be studying the Geography of Latin America.

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