In between where I came from and where I will go next is a sweet memory of my time here at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Since childhood I have always been drawn to the outdoors and the wild things that live in nature.
I could not think of a better fit for myself than to study natural resources and conservation in my higher education. In the pursuit of a career conserving natural resources and wildlife, I found myself driving 3,000 miles to a place I knew so little about. Forty-five minutes from a proper grocery and nestled in between farmlands of Glenwood was my home for the next six months where I would serve as a refuge technician.
Spring took me by the hand and showed this Florida girl all the colors that it paints the valley in the fresh months of the year. After wading through bountiful creeks and crawling out of banks with fyke nets filled with invasive critters, I could be found near the meadows admiring the lupine and camas. Although I am focused and passionate about my work, I admit that I can be distracted by a bee whose hind legs are thick with pollen as it hovers over an aster or anemone collecting insatiably.
When summer came along and the snow melt from Mt. Adams was no longer feeding the refuge waterways, I watched the valley transition from radiant greens dotted with bright flowers to amber and saffron tones. No rain for nearly three months left the wildlife congregating in areas that hold more water like an oasis in a desert. Then the surrounding fires occurred. Through the hazy and smoke-filled days, I realized how fragile my refuge home was. I could escape the smoke by stepping inside, but the creatures of Conboy Lake must be resilient. Taking care of our planet is the career I choose, but it is a responsibility of the masses as well.