This is my last week at HFF and I could not be more thankful for the time I spent here. I learned more than I ever could have imagined and met some of the most caring and hilarious people around.
The fieldwork I was designated broadened my knowledge and understanding of the way that water, my passion, works. I was really excited about getting to work right on the river and though my fieldwork was not exactly what I was expecting, it was thrilling and rewarding nonetheless. Even a weekly job such as turbidity would get me out of the office and on the river so that I could interact with the fishery and feel valuable even with such a small contribution. Creel hammered a map of the area into my brain and helped me become intimate with the river and all of its different fishing locations. It also allowed me to meet the people that HFF works so hard for-the anglers. Every small conversation, every smile and handshake, made me feel closer to the river and the people using it. So though Creel shifts were long and sometimes arduous, they ended up doing a lot of good for me in ways that I did not realize until the very end. In summation, I wouldn’t have gotten this kind of hands on experience for the things that I am so passionate about anywhere else.
My project concerning Gray’s Lake, Willow Creek, Clark’s Cut, Blackfoot Reservoir, and the rights of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes went better than I could’ve hoped for. Rob was a patient teacher who guided me through the complicated world of water rights and its accompanying hydrology. I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to work through something like that, even if it was a small project, just because of the experience it gave me in searching the water rights database and learning how to use it, becoming better versed in excel, critically thinking through the outcomes and consequences of shifting the water in the way that my report outlined, and learning how to write a sophisticated and professional report that Rob could send off to his colleagues for consultation. Those are all essential skills that I will be able to apply in many other future professional situations and that I am truly appreciative of.
This internship wouldn’t have been what it was if it weren’t for some truly amazing people. First and foremost, Melissa is a fantastic, considerate, and thoughtful teacher who clearly explained everything to me and helped me expand both my knowledge of the subject of water and my passion and understanding for the issues surrounding it. She is also an amazing friend who was always there to talk and hang out exactly when I needed it most. This experience wouldn’t have been the same without her and I will be forever grateful for her continued and unwavering friendship. My mentor Rob was patient and all knowing and also expanded my knowledge and appreciation of this field. He introduced me to subjects I had never even thought about much less considered as a job path and now I have the experience to help me make future decisions regarding this field. Had he not been so kind and easy to talk to, I would’ve had a much harder time successfully completing my project and learning as much as I did. Jamie also had the great skill of making me feel not just listened to, but heard and accepted, and anytime I needed anything, I knew I could go to her because she is not only organized but also compassionate and wants the best for everyone.
Overall, I had a fantastic time here and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer, or better people to spend time with. Thank you to everyone who made this summer possible.