The best of experiences.
My name is Nathan Nadal, I was born and raised in a small town just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was here I grew up learning to love the outdoors, everything from backpacking and camping to fly fishing and kayaking. Even as a small child I was always drawn to fish and how they interacted with their surroundings. The experiences I had at this time, unknown to me, would shape every decision I would make for the foreseeable future.
After graduating high school I took two years off of college before moving west and finally settling in Southeast Idaho. Now I am a graduating senior at Brigham Young University Idaho. I am completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Fish, wildlife and range management with a minor in Natural Resources as well as a minor in Earth Studies. This degree has grown my fascination with the “remote blue lines” you see on the map-the places that aren’t easy for us to get to and remain largely untouched and therefore still function as pristine fish habitat.
During my educational journey I have been fortunate enough to work under Professor of Freshwater Ecology Dr. Billman, in a small research lab on campus. This opportunity allowed me to get hands on research experience in both extracting and cross examining otoliths (inner ear bones) and fin rays on Catostomus ardens (Utah Sucker) to better interpret their life history patterns. These fish remain largely unstudied and this project was aimed at better understanding what little data there is out there about these fish. This experience has helped solidify my passion not just for fish, but for the places they call home.
Because of my exposure to fisheries research, when I found out about the Henry’s Fork Foundation and their mission to serve as “The voice of the river”, I knew this was a calling I would like to call my own. I was lucky enough to be brought on as an intern, to work under Dr. Rob Van Kirk, in April of 2022 to do GIS data work, as well as conduct field research, field work and ADCP (acoustic Doppler current profiler) streamflow measurements. Since April I have been able to work on projects such as monitoring Buffalo River fish ladder, which involves counting and measuring fish, checking for gill lice and recording essential data to understand the movement of these spawning fish from the Henry’s Fork below Island Park dam into tributary streams such as the Buffalo River.
Since starting my internship I have been inspired to pursue higher education and plan to apply to graduate school programs at the end of 2023. In my time away from work I still find myself doing many of the same things that I have done since I was small. Now, thankfully, I have a much greater understanding and appreciation for those things and how important each of them are not just to me, but to each other.