After nearly two years here, my time as an intern at the West Eugene Wetlands is coming to an end. I have accepted a permanent position at another organization, and while I am excited for the new experiences my future holds, I will definitely miss the wetlands and the team of people with whom I worked.
When I began this internship, not too far out of college (with a background in English, no less), if someone had pointed out a plant and asked, “What can you tell me about this?” my answer probably would have been a tentative “It’s green?” I have learned so much in the last two years, however, that now my answer would be more like “Oh, that’s Kincaid’s lupine. It’s a threatened species and the host plant of the Fender’s Blue Butterfly.” And that is an amazing feeling.
During my time here, I have had the opportunity to assist with monitoring, planting, seeding, leading educational groups, and much more. And while I’ve enjoyed the variety of experiences, some of my favorite memories are in the complications my partner and I have had in the field, like spending 3 hours attempting to find 12 rebar we’d stuck so far in the ground only an inch showed (after mowing, burning, or even animals digging burrows, the landscape can really change from year to year), or trying to square up a new macroplot without a compass. There is nothing more satisfying than putting our heads together and being able to formulate a solution to a problem that has plagued us (whoever knew pythagorean theorum would come in handy outside the classroom?).
Anyway, I am so happy to have had such an amazing opportunity and I would like to wish all current and future interns luck with their endeavors.