Samuel "Sam" Ross '18 and Elizabeth "Liz" Todd '19

In the Words of Travis Tritt...
By Sam Ross and Liz Todd, Flat Ranch Preserve Summer Interns!

It's a great day to be alive. Well, it is when you're working on the Flat Ranch, at least. Now don't get us wrong, we didn't come to this realization on our first day at work. Our first few rounds of fencing were less than graceful, and upon returning from the fields scraped and scratched we often felt more like hapless cat ladies than we did assistant preserve managers. Wading through the thick mud and moist silt to gauge ground water levels didn't seem too glorious at first, either. And don't get us started on the holes in our waders. Yet we fell in love with the preserve all the same.

You see, there were moments this summer when all the hard work, all the sweat, all the grime, they just felt insignificant. These instances, as fleeting as they were, wholly justified the 2,300 mile trek out here. Sitting on the porch of the visitor's center, Arizonas and Huckleberry Dust Cutters in hand, we'd watch the afternoon sun wash over the flat as a herd of pronghorn pranced across the property. I'd turn to Liz and smile, "Definitely better than a desk job". Orthere was when we finished mending the corrals, a summer-long endeavor. Tearing off our gloves and whipping out our phones, we bounded through the pens like two proud, drunken cattle as we recorded the finished product. Definitely better than a desk job. And who could forget the feeling of taking off our waders after a long morning of groundwater monitoring? We'd lounge on the tailgate of the truck as we looked out over the pasture, relishing the crisp sensation of air on our legs while priding ourselves on aiding the Nature Conservancy with its wetland installation project. We were lucky to have this job.

While the work days were filled to the brim with fencing, water monitoring, construction,and other kinds of TNC-related fun, the weekends were equally memorable. Whether we were ascending a snow-capped mountain in the Tetons or taste-testing fresh salmon in downtown Seattle, we yearned to experience everything the West had to offer. Between stunning hikes,easygoing camping trips, and unforgettable nights with our fellow interns, the countless opportunities in the area made for a perfect summer. And although we are both distraught to be ending our time in the Knight Program, we are grateful for everything it has provided and we look forward to applying all we have learned. We can say with the utmost sincerity that these ten weeks have been some of the best of our lives. And we're ecstatic to know that we will have Travis Tritts' timeless lyrics to remember them by.