Since I’ve started at the Kenai Watershed Forum, I’ve met hard working coworkers, passionate volunteers, new friends, and created lasting memories. Living in Alaska has provided me with an experience that fuels my interests in conservation and restoration while actually presenting opportunities to make a difference. As an environmental science intern, my daily activities varied greatly from day to day. Hopping from one project to another – even in the same day – is part of the enjoyment of a workplace like this. One such instance is the field work I’ve done on the salmon habitat mapping project.
In the salmon habitat mapping project, we used minnow traps to capture, identify, and release the juvenile fish in local streams. Areas of interest can include culverts at ends of previously documented streams and lakes, as well as undocumented bodies of water. Enough salmonids caught can provide sufficient documentation of a stream or lake to be classified as salmon-bearing, or “anadromous”. During the time that I’ve been at the Watershed Forum, we’ve been able to gather evidence for over three miles of new anadromous waters on the Kenai Peninsula. This work is meaningful to me, because I know that I am providing for a community that is mindful of their impact towards salmon habitat.
Although days as a watershed intern were full, there were still weekends to get out and explore what Alaska has to offer. There were many places to traverse on the peninsula to fill a weekend – from pack rafting near Swan Lake, fishing in the Kasilof river, and hiking at Caines Head – I never had trouble finding something to do! Fair warning to those coming in the future – be prepared, you just might not want to leave.