When describing what Mt. Adams Institute provides- a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, make lasting connections with professionals in your desired field of work, serve and engage with your community, all with the support of the caring individuals that make up the organization- it sounds like a dream.
From the moment I applied to the position of refuge technician at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge, I have felt support through every step of the process. My husband and I moved from Florida at a particularly difficult yet exciting time in our lives. We had just gotten married on the cusp of the Covid-19 pandemic and were coming to Washington State to work together as Public Lands Stewards.
We arrived at the end of April, just in time to enjoy the sweet smell of spring and to see colts, fawns, and elk calves stumbling around the refuge before the grasses grew tall enough to shield the offspring from our view. Every day we hear the cries of hawks and calls of the yellow-headed blackbirds. We have seen sneaky river otters and ducklings speeding across the creeks. We have had close encounters with great horned owls, nighthawks, and bald eagles. As we learn more about the refuge and become comfortable in our work routine, we are also learning about the ecology of the wildlife that thrives here just by observation over time. As public lands stewards and refuge technicians, we are responsible for maintaining a balance in the wetland ecosystem that is home to the threatened Oregon Spotted Frog. The skills that we have attained from our time at Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge are extremely useful for a future working in the field of wildlife and conservation, but the memories we have gained in this beautiful region of the country are invaluable.
Living in Washington State has been so fulfilling for my sense of adventure, I have been able to explore some of the most beautiful locations I have ever seen without going far. I cannot say where I will go for my next opportunity, but I know that I am better prepared for it because of my time as a Public Lands Steward for Mt. Adams Institute.