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Intern Mike's Summer in Harriman

Hiya! My name is Michael Hensley. I guess I go by Mike because it's easiest to tell people but I respond to Michael as well. I have one semester left (hopefully) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where I am majoring in Life Sciences Communication and Botany. I believe these two programs go together like butter and toast with the goal of aiding me in my journey of advocating for the natural world. I was born and raised in the small town of Crested Butte, Colorado so I’m lucky enough to have spent a large portion of my life outdoors. Whether it’s skiing, hiking, fishing, biking, climbing, or even just looking at flowers, I’m stoked to be outside doing it.


Slippery little bugger that one


My love for the outdoors is what draws me to organizations like the Henry's Fork Foundation. I’m really excited I get to supplement my studies and my passion with experiences like the one HFF is giving me. I’m learning a lot about executing a new project and being able to troubleshoot any mishaps along the way. On top of this, I get to spend time with volunteers, members, and savvy anglers sharing what I’m doing with HFF and why I think it’s important.


I have a lot of previous experience in the lab and in the field. Two summers ago, I worked for the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory studying thermal relationships of plants in an alpine ecosystem. At school in Wisconsin, I am currently working in the Pringle Lab which studies fungi of all kinds. There I helped a researcher synthesize her work into a paper that was more digestible to a general audience. This fall, I hope to execute my senior thesis on the physiology of a pathogenic fungus that infects lizards. In the meantime however, I plan on putting in my time here on the river to help HFF to the best of my ability.


First Idahoan Mushroom


So what exactly am I doing at HFF? Well, I’m glad you asked. My main mission is to install, maintain, and collect data from the thermal data loggers that we are putting in Harriman State Park. I then curate the data so that it’s easy for our tech wiz, Melissa, to convert the data into graphic form. This will be available to the public via our website and will be updated on a weekly basis. The data can provide anglers with valuable information about the temperature in different areas of Harriman at different times. Furthermore, HFF can use this data as a baseline to compare how temperatures of the water can affect other parts of the ecosystem like macroinvertebrates and macrophytes.


The natural position you will likely find me in this summer!


When I’m not working on this project, you will probably find me on the bike trails or in the river as I’m trying to squeeze every last drop I can out of my time here in Idaho. If you see me in the field, please stop by and say hi! It’s always a pleasure meeting new people especially on a gorgeous summer day.


As a final note, I would love any help and human interaction I can get out there so please sign up to volunteer on Monday's and Tuesdays! All this will entail is taking beautiful walks/wades through Harriman and downloading data from the loggers to a phone. If you would like to signup, please find the form here.


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