Intern blog- Elizabeth Lopez

“We are trying to give her a well rounded ES internship showcasing the amazing listed species in our state as well as introducing her to the pressing conservation issues we are facing.”

— Tara Callaway, Shrub Steppe Zone Supervisor

Wenatchee Washington

Situated in Chelan County and serving as the vibrant economic hub of North Central Washington, Wenatchee boasts an array of delights for residents and visitors alike. Basking in abundant sunshine, this charming city graces the banks of the majestic Columbia River and has consistently been hailed as one of the finest places to live and indulge in recreational activities across the nation.

During the summer months, the river comes alive with families and friends engaging in waterskiing and leisurely boating, reveling in the warm waters. Meanwhile, cyclists and runners flock to the renowned 13-mile Apple Capitol Loop trail, an exceptional urban public space that stands among the finest in the entire state.

Hello everyone! My name is Elizabeth Lopez and I grew up in Lakeview, Oregon, which is a rural area in southern Oregon where I finished high school. I’m currently a junior at Oregon State University studying botany, plant and pathology, and sustainability. Previous to this internship opportunity, I worked in a lab with the USDA researching Fusarium sambucinum in hop plants. I mostly worked in the lab doing PCRs, and DNA extractions. Being near Yakima reminds me of the samples we would receive from our hop farms near Yakima!

As spring term at OSU started to end I realized that I needed to broaden my horizons. What’s a better time than in the summer to figure out what you want to do with your life. I always knew I wanted to work with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, but I just wasn’t sure what. My uncle spread the news of a MANRRS internship who are only for MANRRS members. As chapter president of OSU, I spread the word of opportunities for our members to take advantage of. When I found out I got the internship I applied for I was ecstatic and felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders because the opportunity I have been looking for has finally come!

In my first week I did lots of paperwork, met my new colleagues, mentors, and bosses. I also got the chance to monitor checker mallows, and collect data on them with Susan Ballinger which begun my first fieldwork experience in Wenatchee Washington. Here in Wenatchee, perennials are the dominant species. For checkered mallows to grow it has to have the perfect conditions for it to do so. This means that it can be dormant to 2-3 years to conserve it’s resources. We visited a private land trust conservation land to collect data on this species.

Susan Ballinger is regarded as a competent scientist, naturalist, and educator because of her breadth of knowledge and capacity for motivation. Susan was up in Montana, where she acquired a passion for the outdoors that led to her earning master’s degrees in biology and education as well as a lifelong dedication to explaining science to those who are not scientists. Her ten years of work creating scientific field trips for the Wenatchee School District demonstrate her commitment for experiential learning. She has been on the boards of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the Washington Native Plant Society, and she is a volunteer for citizen science botany and bird programs. When Susan is not conducting research, writing, or instructing, she may be found in her favorite foothills with her husband Paul.

Susan Ballinger, Katherine Gaylord whose a volunteer, and me.
The Checkered Mallows