"10 and 2, 10 and 2, think of it like a pie!" This was my first piece of advice, and what my first lesson of fly fishing consisted of. I had no idea what that meant, or why I was doing it...but somehow it seemed to work. I was finally out on the river, experiencing the beauty of fly fishing. I now felt what the avid fishermen felt. I was feeling that thrill and tranquility, and I was officially "hooked" on to the sport. However, that feeling was not there the first day. I was very frustrated at myself because I could not get the hang of the techniques. This is how I felt for most of the beginning of the summer. I was not experienced with any fly fishing, hiking, or any outdoor activities whatsoever. I kept getting frustrated, and confused. Then I realized that that was the beauty of this internship. It was the beauty of learning new things, and gaining new experiences.
When I received the Don. C. Byers scholarship, I was so excited! However, I didn't know what to expect, or what type of work I would be doing. Let's just say..I was able to get a little taste of everything. I started working with the foundation one day before my birthday on April 13th. Right away, I started helping Dr. Rob Van Kirk organize water rights, and helped with his Waste Water Treatment Plant Project. It was something different, since I had no knowledge about water rights or the WWTP. I also helped around the office, until my actual internship started in June. A month after I started, the intern from Colgate, Natalie Smith, arrived as well. One week after she arrived, the intern from Washington & Lee, Maya Epelbaum, arrived. And last but not least, the intern from Stanford, Christina Morrisett arrived in mid-June. Once we were all here, we started helping organize for Henry's Fork Day. I helped Julie organize, while Natalie, Maya, and Christina had the privilege to mow the lawn at the site for several hours. At the actual event, I helped check guests in, and set up the venue. It was an eventful day, that happened so fast. I met a lot of new people, and heard new stories of fishermen that have been fishing the Henry's Fork for as long as they can remember. I was glad to be a part of a great event that brought all these people together.
I had thought to myself "all this is great fun..but when does the FISHING start?" I had no idea what was in store for me. The interns and I started working with Friends of the Teton River, helping them out with their survey that they had been doing. This is where the fishing began. However, it was not the type of fishing I was thinking of. For the rest of the summer we would be electrofishing. Electrofishing is a procedure in which we use a machine called an "E-fisher," to shock the fish in small streams and creeks. The shocking does no harm to the fish, it only stuns them, to allow us to net them, and take DNA samples. Helping FTR with their survey will help them gather information about Cutthroat fish populations in the future. This survey involved a lot of hiking and walking down streams. Which doesn't sound so difficult, unless you're like me and have never done neither of these things. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it.
As the interns started leaving, I started realizing that the summer had flown past my eyes. I was not ready to have my internship come to an end! I had learned so many new things, met so many new people, and gained SO much experience. I was very sad, knowing that it was all going to end soon....but then, I was offered to stay longer with the foundation as a regular employee! I didn't think twice about my answer. I knew I wanted to continue working with, and be a part of a great organization that helps conserve this beautiful watershed, and place I call home.