The end of November means that I’m one month into this five-month internship, and wow has it gone by quickly. I moved to Oregon from Utah for this job, and it came with a lot of life changes, some I saw coming, but others I was unprepared for. I’ve spent this past month learning about Oregon, trying to do as many local things as I can, and of course trying to get as much out of this internship as possible.
My main job here is seed cleaning, but I am not alone in this objective. There is another CLM intern here who I sit and clean seed with for most of the day. We spend a lot of time chatting and getting to know each other (and the Forest Service employees we work with), but we also spend a lot of time listening to podcasts while getting lost in the seed.
Probably the most exciting day of this internship (so far) was the day we got to drive west of Portland to Viento State Park to deliver plants that our Forest Service unit has been growing for a revegetation project in Viento. The day started out cloudy and foggy (as Oregon winter days are apt to do), but by the time we reached the outskirts of Portland, the sun had come out and we were able to see stunning views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. It was my first time seeing these volcanic mountains, but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Eventually we started driving though the Columbia River Gorge, which was absolutely stunning: the fall foliage was in full swing, the waterfalls were pouring, the Columbia River was flowing, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
Once we arrived at Viento, the job was fairly simple. We unloaded the plants and sorted them by species so that when the state park employees planted them later, they would know which plants went where. After about a half hour of unloading, we started the drive back to Dorena. On the way back however, we decided that an extra stop was necessary so my co-intern and I could get more acquainted with the local area. We stopped at Multnomah Falls for lunch and enjoyed not just the spectacular views, but watching a Search and Rescue training as well. After taking in the views we started our drive back to Dorena for the second time.
After we passed Portland, the clouds started to move in again, and before we got to Eugene, it was raining again. Another 30 minutes to Dorena, and you would have never known that just a couple hours earlier we were enjoying the sunshine while unloading plants and looking at waterfalls.
There have been a lot of good days in my first month at Dorena, but this was the most memorable. Change is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, you just have to embrace it and know nothing lasts forever. I’m excited to see where my time at Dorena takes me, and I’m excited for all the things I’m going to learn.