It’s hard to believe our internship experience is over in a week! I’ve met people here who have helped to shape my future and have had professional and personal experiences that make me feel ready to roll into graduate school. I am so excited to be heading back to my fiance but I will sorely miss the Klamath River Basin and all of its natural beauty.
Through mid-August, we conducted surveys to compare night-time snorkel sampling efficiency against electrofishing for bull trout in Three Mile Creek near Ritter, Oregon. Besides getting a solid workout dragging myself across a creek bed, catching sight of a bull trout with my dive light and watching them interact with their environment from their perspective was one of my favorite experiences thus far!
On one of these night-time excursions, Brianne caught sight of a spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) that flew overhead and perched just beyond our car! It was a special experience and I hope our sighting helps the Forest Service pinpoint another nest.
Over the course of this internship I’ve received a crash course in fish hatchery construction and daily operation, had a chance to collect and care for larval fish as part of an endangered species rearing program, participated in bat mist netting in California, helped with passive transponder tag (PIT) fish telemetry surveys on Upper Klamath Lake, checked wildlife cameras for signs of wolves and found deer, elk, coyote, and bear (oh my), electrofished in the Gearhart Wilderness, conducted night-time snorkel surveys, worked through applied problems in R Studio and ArcGIS, transferred freshwater mussels out of dangers way for a future restoration project, and contributed research and writing to the field office knowledge base, and so much more.
I’m happier, healthier, and more knowledgeable than I was when I started this internship. And I have about 3,000 more pictures now than I had at the start – there is a photo-op at every turn here. On the weekends we explored this beautiful region by hiking and camping.
Thank you so so so much to my fabulous fellow interns and housemates, Brianne and Jessie, and our supervisor, Nolan. This experience would have been a fraction of what it was without them here. Nolan was always ready to line us up with a new work experience! Jessie, Brianne, and I had some truly epic times while we were here and I can’t wait to see where life takes both of them. I will truly miss working at the Kalamth Falls FWS Field Office. Thank you to Krissa, Chris, and everyone who makes these experiences possible at the Chicago Botanic Garden!