Wading Right In

Monday, June 22, 2020 - 6:03pm


London Bernier

My name is London Bernier and I am a recent graduate of St. Lawrence University where I studied environmental studies and statistics. I grew up right outside of Portland, Maine, which also happens to be where I am remotely working for HFF this summer! My family and I have been exploring and adventuring in the outdoors for as long as I can remember; endless curiosity and enthusiasm for nature has always been a driving force in my life. I inherited my passion for the outdoors from my dad, a life-long angler and outdoorsmen that seems to know everything about everything, a seemingly dad quality. My inherent appreciation for nature translated easily into studying ways to conserve and protect the environment and all the wildlife it supports. 

Top: One of my favorite hikes in Maine, Tumbledown Mountain. With wild Maine blueberries in the summer, a crisp lake, and amazing fall colors, you can’t go wrong.

Bottom: Many evenings and early mornings have been spent on the Presumpscot River in Maine fishing the outgoing tide for Striped bass. 

The first two weeks with HFF have been full of new information! We were introduced to the staff, innerworkings of the organization, and what to expect for our personal projects. By the end of the first week, we started water and data analysis courses with Rob Van Kirk that gave us essential background on the Henrys Fork Watershed: understanding hydrographs, water rights, and some statistical background in R, a statistical programming software. I was excited to get a head start working with Rob as a sort of teaching assistant for the data analysis course, as I have experience working in R and RStudio. Little did I know I would be given the chance to teach half of each of the five lessons! Despite just starting the internship, Rob gave me this extremely unique opportunity right off the bat, taking the time to work with me one-on-one. Working remotely can make building relationships and organization culture difficult, but after my first meeting with Rob, there was no doubt HFF values each member of their team and the opportunity for collaboration.

The past week of working with and learning from Rob has taught me a lot about teaching and statistics; every mathematician or statistician has their own unique coding practices and techniques, so having the opportunity to work alongside someone with over 20 years of experience was extremely valuable. Between teaching and attending courses these past two weeks, I’ve absorbed an amazing amount of knowledge and feel lucky to be part of such a dedicated team.

This week marks the start of our independent project work. I will be working with Christina Morrisett this summer, looking at how streamflow impacts habitat in the Lower Henry’s Fork. My first project, however, will focus on creating a guide to interpreting the scientific publications HFF releases, notably the daily water report and how it affects anglers’ fishing experiences. Although I cannot be in person to help Christina collect data and conduct field work, I am excited to assist in any way I can and that starts this week by reviewing scientific literature, research, and data. I am excited to take a deeper dive into hydrology in the Henry’s Fork and all the foundation has to offer this summer! 


Above: Not exactly Ashton, but I spent a week fishing and backpacking in and around Yellowstone, Bozeman, and the Beartooth Mountains last summer. This was my first fishing experience out west!