James Freeman '15

This summer I was the intern for the Nature Conservancy. I worked at the Flat Ranch Preserve, which was about a fifteen-minute drive from Last Chance. Typically, there is a Preserve manager to oversee the property, but this year the Nature Conservancy was unable to fill that position. Because of this, most of the time I either worked alone at the Ranch or with two Volunteers - a full time RV'ing couple that the Conservancy hired seasonally. My boss, Chris Little, managed to drive up from Idaho Falls once or twice a week to check on things. I really enjoyed my time with Chris whenever he came, but there was a lot of down time in the job as he was not around to come up with projects that needed to be done at the Preserve. Additionally, the volunteers, didn't end up working out either, so I pretty much ran the Visitor Center single handedly. It was a great job and I learned a lot about the community and the wildlife around Island Park. At the Preserve, my biggest summer projects were constructing a water wash station to prevent the spread of invasive species into the caldera and a new nature trail at the Preserve. Other projects included collecting rain data, fence building and repair, studying the wildlife, eradicating weeds, and planning and helping run educational programs. The educational programs were especially enjoyable, as there were always great turnouts and really interesting topics. I left August 11, for I had to be home early to lead a Pre-Orientation trip on the 20th. It took about three days to drive home.

One of my favorite nights was when we were invited to eat dinner at the Knights, because I was able to see everyone. Maybe a weekly or every-other week get together at Trouthunter with all of the W&L interns would make a great improvement - just a time to get everyone together and see how everything is going. Overall it was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone.