I have been lucky enough to have many great internship experiences, both at school and since graduating. But none can compare to the experience I have had here at the Arcata Field Office. When I first found out that I was California bound, I was extremely nervous about the culture I would find. I was nervous about the fact that despite being hired as a Forestry Intern, I had taken no forestry classes and had no experience with forestry techniques. Luckily though, all of my fears were completely unfounded, for in Arcata I found not only a supportive community but also a supportive and quite frankly epically awesome work environment.
I have learned so much during my time here in Arcata! When I interviewed with my mentor, Dan Wooden, he had said that he really encourages his interns to go out and take on as many new learning opportunities that come and boy, did a lot come! From forestry to fisheries, from botany to wildlife I was all over the place, helping and contributing to projects small and large! This internship has been unlike any other for this reason, for while I focused on the forestry projects my mentor assigned I was able to simultaneously branch out and learn about the management of other resources.
While working for the Arcata FO I monitored a prairie restoration project, flagged and marked a unit for a commercial timber sale and Sudden Oak Death mitigation treatment, and initiated the transfer of over 3,000 forest stand data entries– from FORVIS a stand information system– to Excel so that now the information can be easily accessed and related into ArcMap. I helped the office prepare and execute a visit from the Secretary of the Interior and hiked the entirety of The Lost Coast while mapping rare/ invasive plants and when I had to as backpackers to leave the trail during the Horse fire. I hooted for spotted owls in Headwaters Reserve and collaborated with an HSU student on a bobcat inventory and identification project. I dove for steelhead along the Mattole River and helped remove pampas grass in the dunes. Every opportunity to learn I have grasped with eager and enthusiastic hands and with the support of my mentor and the rest of the Arcata team!
I leave this internship knowing that I have gained experiences that will better prepare me for whatever may come next (hopefully graduate school!) and that I have more than met the expectations of my mentor and peers. I have made many friends here in Arcata and it is through these friendships that I have had such a great experience!
Thank you to all of the people who allowed me to have such an enriching learning experience and to all who are thinking about applying to the Chicago Botanic Garden Conservation and Land Management Internship Program, DO IT!
All the best to my fellow CLM’ers and best of luck to future interns!
Till next time,