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Finding Purpose From The River

As the summer draws to an end, I have this funny feeling that I think some people call dread. For the past 3 years I’ve been excited to end my summer work and start up school yet this summer has been different. I guess that either means I don’t like school anymore or I really like Eastern Idaho and the work I’ve been doing at HFF. It’s probably a mix of both.

I like big fish

My time here at HFF has shown me what it’s like to have a job where I’m passionate about what I do and I feel like I am contributing. Instead of counting down the hours until my day is over, I find myself losing track of time until the day draws to a close.

Collecting data at Blue Springs Creek

Data Collection – Harriman State Park

Almost every Monday and Tuesday of my weeks here have been devoted to the 16 temperature monitor sites that we have located around Harriman. To some of them, it’s a simple walk and wade whereas others have required substantial efforts to get to (looking at you, Bonefish Monitor). I have accessed these monitors with a kayak or a bike even. Somedays, when I felt up for it, I would wake up extra early to collect data and then bring my fishing rod to fish a stretch of water while collecting the final datasets for the week. I think I did this three times and maybe only cast at one fish the whole time. The days I was too lazy to wake up that early were obviously the days the fish were eating.

Between each monitor, I had a lot of time to think so, of course, I thought… and thought… and thought. What I seemed to focus on was this idea of Purpose. Finding meaning in life and working towards a goal greater than oneself. For me, it’s the sole motivator. I tend to act like a sack of potatoes akin to the ones being distributed from this very state when I don’t have a purpose. I think most people are probably similar. Without a purpose there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning. However, in my time between the monitors I arrived at the conclusion that, much like humans, organizations need a purpose. In fact, I’d argue that any successful organization has a very clearly defined purpose that’s easily found within a few clicks on their website. This seems obvious but I never fully understood how truly valuable a clearly defined purpose is.

The Henry’s Fork Foundation has a purpose of using science and collaboration to foster ideal water quality, streamflow, and fish populations to provide good fishing conditions for anglers. The work here being done to back this purpose up is inspiring. If there’s one thing I learned this summer, it’s that I hope I am working for an organization that holds itself accountable to the purpose it has lined out. I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to work for one that does.

Thank you to everyone who made this possible including Steve Born, Brandon Hoffner, Jack Mclaren, and Melissa Muradian who gave me such an amazing experience and helped me along the way.

Hiking Mt. Borah

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