During a short meeting with my mentors, Rob and Jamie, we each had our turn to look at each other and say, “Has it really been ten weeks already?” and “Where did the time go?” But regardless of how much I would like time to stop and to be able to work here longer, I have reached the end of my internship. When applying for and beginning this position, I thought I would be happy to have accomplished something toward graduating and furthering my education, and while I do feel those things, I am also filled with longing to stay here and to continue to learn from these great people.
I am so happy to report that my project, maintaining the cow fence along three miles of the river, was a complete success! There was not a single time that the cows broke down the fence and were able to get into the river. In fact, the only problem from the cows came from two very persistent cows that found their way around the fence by going into the water and around the portion of fence that jets into the river. Strangely enough, the biggest problem I encountered was when a large group of elk jumped the fence and pulled down the top line of wire. But I can’t give myself all the credit for this success. Last year, Hunter Hill, the intern who had my position, worked tirelessly on improving the fence and made my job this year much easier. And I can’t call it anything other than an act of God, but this summer’s many rain storms kept the cows hydrated so they didn’t need to get to the river. Harriman State Park has said that the cows will be lead off the river by the end of the month. After that, the fence will be let down for the winter and be ready for cows again in the spring.
A departing anecdote: not long ago, while doing creel surveys around the Island Park Dam, I encountered a man and his wife visiting from Michigan. The man was sporting a very long, heavy camera and small tripod. He explained that he and his wife were looking to photograph the wild life of the area; more specifically, a moose. After a few minutes talking about the spectacular wildlife in the area and wondering where the best place to find a moose at that time of day would be, a cow moose pushed through the bushes fifty feet away from us. I was stunned. The man instantly pulled out his camera and began taking photos of the moose as she pushed herself deep into the water and drank to her fill. As I watched the situation unfold, I was filled with a mixture of happiness and pride for the amazing place I live and work. This is just one example of the great adventure it has been to work at Henry’s Fork Foundation this summer. Looking back over my time here I see all the awesome things I have seen and done. I am truly grateful for the opportunity I had to work with my mentors Rob and Jamie who got me going on my project and were always there for questions. My field work providers, Bryce, Melissa, and Ben who kept me busy on water sampling, fish ladder maintenance, and creel surveys. I will always look back on my time at Henry’s Fork Foundation with pride for the things I learned and the people I worked with!