This past fall semester, I was lucky enough to earn a position interning for the U.S. Forest Service, in conjunction with the Blue Mountain Land Trust, as the “Development Intern for the Natural Resources Career Camp in Walla Walla.” My task initially was to develop a natural resource program for Latina High School Women in the Walla Walla area as the aim of the program was to increase diversity in natural resource related career fields. However, as things have developed we have broadened our target group to include every high school student regardless of race or sex.
I was quite lost at the outset of my internship and the task seem monstrous. My supervisors Amber Mahoney and Tim Copeland, like me, weren’t sure where to begin or how to get started. We weren’t sure who would be willing to get involved, where the program should take place, how many days the program should last, nor knew if there was any interest in the Walla Walla community for such a program to make tackling this project worthwhile. With that said, however, Tim provided me with a list of names to get in contact with and I went from there.
I first got into contact with Professor Amy Molitor to discuss the program and without her help, I am not sure where I would be at the moment. Professor Molitor gave me a list of faculty and staff at Whitman to get in touch with that has been paramount in creating any sort of forward progress with the development of the program. Since that meeting, I have gotten into contact with about a dozen other faculty and staff members, and the program has finally come into view.
The “Blue Mountain Outdoor School” will hope to run a test-program this coming Summer at Whitman College for five days. The school hopes to host twenty high school students this summer, and a hundred every summer after that. The high school students will be engaging in an array of off-campus lectures at places such as Harris Park, Wallula Gap, and Bennington Lake, with nearly all the lectures being taught by Whitman faculty.
However, my work is not complete. This semester, I plan on continuing to see this project through by developing advertisements for the school and getting in contact with both possible sponsors and local high schools. I am honored to be a part of such a project and I look forward to seeing what the future has in store.