Being part of an organization that enacts meaningful environmental change is something that I couldn’t be more proud of. At KWF, I’ve had the opportunity to work in various fields of environmental conservation. From teaching kids about salmon life cycles at summer camp to sampling the water that those salmon run through, I’ve been able to see each and every step that this organization takes to preserve the Kenai Watershed. 

With the admirable goal of keeping the watershed healthy, it’s not hard to believe that the people at KWF are just as wonderful as the work we strive to achieve. From the very start of the hiring process, everyone here has been warm, welcoming, and understanding. Even on the (rare) days that we’re stuck inside, there’s always light and livelihood to be found in this office.

Since the beginning of my internship at KWF, I’d been told that the Kenai River Festival, a river conservation awareness festival that KWF hosts annually, would be an untamable beast of an event that would unapologetically hurl me into my time here. While I appreciated the dramatics, I didn’t necessarily believe that it would be all that crazy–obviously, I was wrong. It was a very chaotic weekend, indeed, and I ran around like a headless chicken for the majority of the time. I rarely stopped to take it all in but, when I did, I realized the incredible impact we were making. There were tents teaching about fishing safety, kids painting salmon, and adults learning about local invasive species. Not only did we bring our community together, but we also came together as a team; it was gratifying to say the least. By the end of the festival, every one of us was absolutely exhausted, but it was clear that each person felt proud and accomplished to have been a part of it all–it was certainly a job well done. As lawless as that weekend was, I can say with certainty that it was one of my favorites of the summer. 

These past few months at KWF have been some of the best of my life. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work towards something I’m passionate about with people who make it a pleasure to do so (plus having some pretty awesome weekends in the mountains). Coming to Alaska and working with the Kenai Watershed Forum has truly been a dream come true, and I’m beyond grateful to everyone here for making my experience one for the books.