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Wide Open Spaces

My mom and I left for a road trip in early June. The route? Rochester, New York to Ashton, Idaho! When discussing ways to keep ourselves entertained on the over 30-hour drive, we decided we each would create a playlist of our favorite songs to sing along to. While there was some overlap, a song we were both sure to include was The Chicks’ song “Wide Open Spaces.” Feeling nervous about an internship in a place I had never even heard of until applying for the job, I felt a particular connection to the lyrics, “It takes the shape of a place out West, but what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed.” After this summer, I feel extremely thankful for the wide open spaces of Idaho and beyond, and hope to return in the future. Here are some of the highlights of my summer!

A wonderful internship experience

A day at HFF is never boring! I loved participating in Ashton’s 4th of July Parade and tossing out candy to a sea of kids.

Through my work this summer, I have been able to explore how things like photography and graphic design play a pivotal role in science communications! It has been incredible to work at an organization that not only prioritizes important conservation science, but also places lots of value in how that science is shared with the community. It has been really cool to see and work behind the scenes and learn from my mentor, Jasper, as well as other staff at HFF! Additionally, participating in outreach events such as the Watershed Festival and Youth on the Fly made me realize that I find science education super fun.

Working in a cohort of amazing interns

Group trip to Yellowstone! Not pictured: Me freaking out because tons of bison were within feet of my car.

I enjoy each day of working and living with Marlia, Mike, Tanner, Eva, and Taya! Together, we have gone on a range of adventures, including hikes in the Tetons, weekly trips to Victor’s “Music on Main” Festival, concerts, and more. I can always count on them for a laugh or support! The hardest thing about leaving HFF will be leaving behind these guys. I don’t think I will ever forget winning a raffle for half a pig at a rodeo in Rexburg!

Exploring the wild West

Grand Teton National Park takes the cake for the most beautiful place I have ever visited!

Everyone always says that the Western U.S. is the most beautiful place on earth, and it was hard to believe them before seeing it for myself. I explored beautiful natural spaces such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, both through hiking and driving. The scenery is beautiful enough on its own, but I was also able to experience lots of wildlife I had never seen before! Both within and outside the parks, I saw grizzly, black bear, moose, bison, and more for the first time ever. Once I leave, I know I will be dreaming about the mountains and valleys of the area until I am able to return.

What’s next for me?

As I enter my final year at Colgate University, I’m feeling both nervous and excited for the future. I am not 100% sure what I hope to do following graduation, but tentatively am thinking of working for a year or two and then applying to graduate schools. This summer at HFF has not only maintained my interest in science, but also grown my interest in communications, outreach, and education. I know that whatever my career looks like post-grad, I will have HFF to thank for helping shape my goals!

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