Welcome 2015 IAE/NPSO Interns!

Here in the CR department we are starting to wake up from our winter hibernations, shake the dust off, and get to work preparing for our 2015 field season. We are excited to have Emma MacDonald back again for another season with us as our biological technician and crew leader. We are also eager to  welcome our new batch of NPSO interns in April: Sara Newman, Connor Whitaker, and Cecilia Welch.

Sara graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Psychology. In 2014 Sara was a rangeland conservation intern with the Columbine Ranger District in Southwestern Colorado.  Through this internship she created and implemented a revegetation plan for the Hermosa Creek watershed. Sara has also worked as a senior field guide for Open Sky Wilderness Therapy, a holistic wilderness therapy program out of Durango, CO.

Sarah Newman


Connor received a degree in Biology from  St. Mary’s College of Maryland. For his senior thesis project Connor studied the effects of deer grazing on native plant communities. During the summer of 2014 Connor worked as an invasive plant technician and research aide for the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory of Colorado. As such, he studied and mapped the spread of invasive species within the laboratory’s property as well as assisted with native species revegetation efforts.

Charles Connor Whitaker


Cecilia comes to us with a degree in Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cecilia has held several biological research technician positions with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Montana State University, working on a variety of projects such as chemical ecology research, pollination studies, plant-soil relationships, and invasive grasses. In 2014 Cecilia worked with the Big Sky Watershed Corps of Montana as a member of the Americorps. Through this position she gained familiarity with many natural resource management issues and interagency collaboration within the Yellowstone and Shields River watersheds.

Cecilia Welch
Cecilia Welch


And now here are a few thoughtful words of advice from this year’s crew lead, Emma, a former NPSO intern herself:

You guys are about to have an amazing summer! We get to work in some of the most beautiful and tucked away spots in Oregon with some really rare and neat plants. Some of the plants we work with are endemic to one county or even just a single ridgeline in the entire world. Through this internship you will also make a lot of great friends out of coworkers, supervisors, members of the community, and even our executive director and members of the board. These acquaintances will hopefully be lasting connections within the tight-knit community of ecological conservation within the Pacific Northwest. If this crew is any anything like last year’s, you’ll find yourself hanging out with your coworkers on the weekends and even after the field season ends.

That being said, field work isn’t for the feint of heart. Some days will be long, hot, and stressful to boot. But don’t worry, we know all the best swimming holes and snack stops along the way to keep our brains from hard boiling.

Here’s a couple tips I picked up (sometimes the hard way) from my experiences last year:

  • Always pack an extra fork
  • Embrace the farmer’s tan, there’s no way to avoid the inevitable
  • Just because you’ve never had it before, does not make you immune to poison oak
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers in Cave Junction
  • When in doubt, pack extra
  • Take lots of pictures!