Coast to coast


(Photo above) A pair of American Oystercatchers

There’s something about New England that keeps drawing me back every summer. It started with a visit to rustic and folksy Vermont with a little of bustling Boston back in 2010. And you know what, every time I think, “I better make the most of it because I don’t know when I’ll be here again.” So that’s what I do- I give it my all and then a little more. The SCA has been a major player in why I’ve been in the Northeast instead of home in the Pacific Northwest, specifically Washington. My stints with the SCA started with an Alternative Spring Break trip within the magnificent Grand Canyon National Park. I heard about the June Outdoor Nation summit in NYC through one of the interns from my ASB trip, Lauren Whittlesey(Freedman). After the summit I visited a friend briefly in Vermont and fell in love with the Green Mountain state wondering if I’ll ever be back.

Who would’ve thought that half a year later I would be in New Hampshire, about to start a 10-month corps internship in Bear Brook State Park. And again in February of this year, a mere five months after returning to Washington, I found out that I’ll be in Rhode Island, interning for the US Fish and Wildlife Service through the career discovery internship program (CDIP). As one of over 60 CDIP interns in regions three, five, and seven (map it here!) I serve as a biology intern with the Southern New England-NY Bight Coastal Program (SNEP). You can read more about CDIP here.

Kettle Pond

The adventures began on May 28th was the first day of a week long orientation. We (region five interns) would spend the few short days together staying up far too late and making up for it by struggling to keep our eyes open during training. At the end of the week the never easy goodbyes were said and we departed to our respective sites. My destination was Charlestown, Rhode Island located in South County.

SNEP’s offices are based in the first floor of the Kettle Pond Visitor Center which is part of sunny Rhode Island’s National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Our reach stretches from the New Hampshire-Canadian border all the way down to the New Jersey coast. Most of my work this summer has been within Rhode Island though, only minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. My internship has been keeping me busy with various tasks like surveying American oystercatchers, banding tern chicks, to driving bat surveys when night falls. Occasionally I’m sent out to assist refuge projects such as the piping plover crew or the invasives plants team.

Going into this internship I had limited coursework with biology but in the past eight weeks I’ve learned an incredible amount from the staff who oversee and work with me. My position is one where everyday is a different day and I’ve been fortunate in the constant change in pace in this program. I’m also pretty darn lucky in that I learn at least one new thing a day. This might not be trail work but we’ll see where the next four weeks take me. There’s nothing to complain about and life at the Pond House couldn’t be any better. But as amazing as the Pond House might be, I often find myself missing the restored CCC cabins found at Bear Brook. Here’s to the Ocean State.