This article was published on: 12/16/22 5:49 PM
Thanks to funding from Portland General Electric’s Project Zero Program, my time with the Deschutes River Conservancy has been extended through May 31st of 2023. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity to continue!
My main role at the DRC will be with Communications, working with Marisa Hossick to provide support in social media and storytelling for the mission and goals of the organization on their website and blog. I will help with registration and communications for the Raise the Deschutes Seminar Series and will be working with the Development Director, Rebekah Altman, to help with DRC’s annual fundraiser by procuring auction items, helping manage event communications and graphics, and assist in event planning.
PGE’s Project Zero Internship has been tremendous and has given me experience in many fascinating environmental fields. During my initial internship this summer, I spent most of my time with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, pursuing my interests in environmental fieldwork. I collaborated primarily with Lauren Mork of UDWC, completing fish passage surveys, pebble counts, vegetation monitoring, and transects. I had the chance to work in the Whychus Creek restoration area and see firsthand the UDWC’s many riparian restoration projects as well as the change in flow direction and span of the creek after reconstruction.
Something I hadn’t considered to be a career path for me was environmental education. After working with Kolleen Miller from UDWC, I changed my mind. Her outdoor summer camps and youth education worked to increase the familiarity and involvement of students in their local environment. After completing different activities, I loved seeing how much care and interest in the environment was sparked in the campers. It made me think a lot about how important it is to start exposing kids to environmental knowledge at a young age. This inspires a lifetime of compassion and sets the foundation for a better climate future.
Thanks to this internship, I was also exposed to a multitude of other environmental organizations along the way. I was able to work with the U.S. Forest Service helping with electrofishing, and stream monitoring. During those outings, I was introduced to folks from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. I got the opportunity to work with PGE on redd surveys to track trout reproduction on the Metolius River. These and other experiences allowed me to connect with other non-profits and learn about their missions and projects as well.
I pursued this internship with Project Zero because of my passion for the environment and the outdoors. What I discovered during the program is my newfound passion for water management as well as the issues that influence the vast majority of environmental problems today. My work with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and the Deschutes River Conservancy has not only led me toward a possible career path but has given me countless opportunities and helped me build relationships that I will be forever grateful for.
I couldn’t be more thankful for Taaj Armstrong and Melissa Dubois who lead the Project Zero Program. Their establishment of this program and the support of all the Project Zero interns throughout the internship allowed us to explore fields for our future careers. In addition to work experience, we had opportunities for financial and personal development that we may not otherwise have had access to. After taking part in this program, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store!