So Long, Willapa!

Hi all, this is Lara, the intern at Willapa NWRC coming at you for the last time :”) It’s so bittersweet to say that these are my last two days at the refuge and as a MANRRS intern, but I’ve enjoyed every minute here in the beautiful coastal town of Long Beach, Washington. As the summer has come to a close, I got to go to Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge to present a summary of my experience as an intern with my fellow EFTA peers, FWS coordinators, and Direct Fellowship Program fellows. It was such a surreal experience seeing what everyone else has been up to, and I’m happy to be reporting on how the presentation went for me!


To the right is my lovely supervisor Hope, who came in person to support me during the presentation. She and I decided to make an entire day of our visit to Tualatin, starting with a trip to the Blue Scorcher bakery in Astoria for some breakfast before hitting the road. The drive to Portland was so lush and green, I didn’t even mind that it was rainy the entire time we were in the car. Once me made it to the refuge, we decided to explore the natural area surrounding the visitor center and do some birding. We got lucky enough to stumble across a hotspot for birds at this one snag- we saw chickadee, swallow, dove, geese, jays, and wren.


To say I was nervous would be a gross understatement- I was terrified of presenting. Although I had the support of my fellow cohort interns, I was nervous primarily because the audience members in FWS could be my future employers. Luckily, my coworkers at the office had tuned in to watch and show their support, which helped a lot, and the FWS employees that were present were cracking jokes in the comments. Sharing my experiences in front of everyone wasn’t nearly as scary as I had imagined, and it was so inspiring to see what everyone was up to. The work not only the interns but also the directorate fellows had done over the summer was amazing!


Even though my time as in intern at Willapa is over, I’m not entirely done yet! I will be returning to Long Beach for the Wings Over Willapa festival (which I highly recommend attending) as a volunteer over the weekend. After that, I’ll also be heading back to Portland for the SACNAS conference in October. And finally, I’ll be continuing my studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Thanks again to EFTA and Fish and Wildlife Services for the best summer I could ask for, and the chance to gain so many new experiences! I’ll be applying to be a directorate fellow next summer, so hopefully my career with Fish and Wildlife isn’t over yet. 

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