As a rising senior in college the pressure to figure out what comes next after graduation is a constant stress that tugs at the back of my mind on a daily basis—finding an important internship for my last summer before “real life” seemed daunting. What’s going to look good on a resume? How will the experience give me tools to succeed later on? Am I even going to find something? These were just a few of the anxiety filled questions I began to ask myself starting around Christmas vacation. Let’s face it, internships go fast and college students are chomping at the bit to find summer work that will help them find a job after graduation.
I’m not ashamed to say that it was my dad’s idea to contact the conservancy about a summer internship. When Associate Director Sarah Brooks said that she was willing to talk to me about a possible internship, it was honestly a no-brainer: A) I love the Methow Valley. B) I’ve always been interested in nonprofit management and what that might entail. And finally C) I could tell after one phone call with Sarah that the office was going to be a great place to intern, with interesting projects and a welcoming and friendly staff…. And thankfully I was right.
My first week at the Conservancy, I was on invitation duty for an upcoming major donor event. My first lesson from Sarah was the difference between a “bad pen” and a “good pen” (ballpoint is bad). Never again will I even think about writing a formal letter in ballpoint—Thanks Sarah!
I am now diving into the project of expanding the “This Methow Life: A Library of Conservator Interviews” started by Sophie Daudon, last year’s intern. The project was created to collect recorded interviews with landowners who have conservation easements with the Methow Conservancy. These interviews are for future landowners to learn and hopefully understand why an easement was placed on their land in the first place and how important it is to continue the work of stewardship.
Going through the already completed interviews from last summer, I’ve learned so much about the different homestead stories in the valley. It’s amazing to hear the things people’s ancestors did to make living in the Methow Valley possible. Along with the longtime landowners are first generation newcomers to the valley who are so passionate and captivated by everything this place has to offer. The passion and commitment of this diverse community of people is both amazing and inspiring.
My first two weeks living in the valley have been great and have shown me how truly beautiful and unique the Methow Valley is. I have also discovered a new appreciation for the proximity of wildlife on a daily basis. Last Saturday, I had the pleasure of putting on waders, getting into a raceway tank and feeding some wild beavers at the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery. How many people can actually say they’ve actually done that?
A couple times this week I have returned to my dad’s house to find a doe lounging in the front yard. The first time, she was fairly close to the door and was happily laying in the grass, while I, a confused city girl, sat in my car eating my lunch hoping she would soon let me pass to the front door. After twenty minutes I moved my car as close to the front door as possible and then tiptoed to safety. The second time, she (I’m assuming it was the same doe) was a little farther away so I made a mad dash for the door dropping everything that had been in my arms in the process. The next night, at the Conservancy’s monthly board meeting, Vice President Richard Hart educated me on the ways of the deer and taught me that a deer won’t attack unless there is a fawn present. Naturally, I felt stupid, kept my mouth shut about my ridiculous standoffs with a sweet doe and soaked up the information Richard was so nice to share with me.