Thomas Moore '15
For my internship, I worked with the Oregon Natural Desert Association in Bend, OR. I know a lot of people choose to drive out there, but because I had to balance football training camp with getting enough weeks of work in, driving just wasn't going to be the easiest option for me. I flew out on June 2nd (a Thursday, I think), but was not planning to work until that coming Monday. These extra few days were crucial as it gave me time to get to know the area, settle in the apartment, and to find a car. The first couple days were spent searching for a very inexpensive car to buy that could be sold prior to leaving. One friend said he was able to "rent" a car from someone on craigslist, but those chances are a bit low. Everyone that I have talked to said they drove out, and I've heard it's a great experience, but for me, it just wasn't convenient (I was by no means trying to profit from my stipend this summer either). My apartment is perfectly located and more than enough for what is needed. A family has a secondary home in Bend that has a single bedroom apartment underneath for you to live in, free of charge. It had everything you need to get by for the summer: washer, dryer, full kitchen, and satellite TV. It was perfectly located too, just outside of downtown Bend (where ONDA's office is located). A coworker offered to lend one of their bikes, and I would highly recommend biking to work. Bend is always sunny. I had less than a week total of rain while I was there for 8 or so weeks. Bend is a great town to explore with a very active community, and has something around 8 local breweries, Deschutes Brewery being its most famous.
There is so much I could say about what I did, Matt Little, the conservation director of ONDA while I was there (he has since moved to Portland), couldn't have been a greater guy in that he made sure my experience was up to what I wanted it to be. Just about every other week I was out in the desert backpacking, car camping, and exploring places unlike anything I had ever seen before. Every time I'd go out on a trip, it's like a sightseeing tour, and the employees are really fun in that they'll take you to some really cool spots off of the itinerary for you to check out. The people I worked with were young and fun, and knew how to balance accomplishing their goals without putting to much stress on themselves. The office work can be a bit tedious at times as you could be updating events and transcribing radio interviews, but I also got to help in organizing their new calendar as well as helping to do designs on websites, flyers, and brochures. ONDA has a few donated "company cars" that are at your use when you have to run an errand in town for work as well as when you're travelling to every location for field research (which mostly includes just taking pictures or walking around with a GPS). Plus, they pay for your food and gas during the trip, which was a huge help in saving money. There is so much to be done and I could go on for so much longer to talk about each experience. This was a great program that I will cherish doing. While I never always agreed on some of ONDA's politics, it really got me interested in the world of conservation.