Hi, it’s Samuel! Columbia Springs’ 2023 Hutton Scholar from the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program! My time this summer as a Hutton Scholar has been incredible, and I thank everyone from Columbia Springs and AFS that made my experience possible!
When I first started working with Columbia Springs, I wasn’t expecting to do so much community outreach work during the internship! I applied to the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program expecting to do research work with a fishery, but I ended up at a hatchery instead! I gained experience interacting with the Vancouver community at booth events with Columbia Springs, and I also worked on social media posts and newsletters. However, I was still able to get different tastes of what the fisheries profession was like through the Hutton Scholar Summit and the many shadowing opportunities my mentor provided for me. While I was able to express my passion for science education through daily tasks, I also got to experience a variety of professional areas at many different locations.
My favorite part about working with Columbia Springs were the times I went electrofishing! My first experience electrofishing was by helping with a trout removal project at Tyee Springs. I used a net to catch brook trout after they were shocked, and I learned a lot about the process of electrofishing in a research environment. My second experience electrofishing was when I attended a course about electrofishing principles and safety with Patrick Cooney. Patrick’s infectious enthusiasm made me even more excited to go electrofishing than before, and his lectures were engaging considering how long they were. I was able to catch sculpins, crayfish, trout, and even a lamprey. It was such a great experience being able to catch and see those types of fish up close for the first time!
Even though I had one experience in particular that I liked the most, I still enjoyed many of the great opportunities to shadow different members in many professional areas. At Columbia Springs, I was able to shadow the hatchery manager and helped with fish feeding, pond cleaning, and fish weight surveys. I got to help the Cascade Forest Conservancy project to relocate unwanted beavers at many properties, learning the ins and outs of catching beavers with traps. I also was able to shadow many different team members at the City of Vancouver who were in charge of inspecting swales, ensuring that outgoing water was cleaned through natural filters.
One of the more challenging parts of the internship was coming up with ideas for social media posts. I’m not the type of person to come up with ideas for posts, let alone even upload anything to social media. This internship really moved me out of my comfort zone, and has given me more experience interacting with others, as well as running a social media account for an organization.
To any future interns reading this, my highest recommendation is to bring a staple puller! Columbia Springs has a load of unscanned documents that span from 2007 to now that needs to be digitized. However, before you can scan them, you need to manually take the staples out of the pages. A staple puller will save you a lot of time and agony instead of pulling out the staple by hand from every single packet you come across.
My time at Columbia Springs has been nothing short of amazing! I am eternally grateful to have made many connections and experienced many different activities in a natural environment. I know that this experience will be invaluable to me in my life, and it’s one that I’ll never forget!