Internship Stories

Liam Fraser

Liam FraserWhen: Summer 2017
Where: Iowa Interfaith Power and Light in Decorah, Iowa
Major: Environmental Studies

Liam organized a clean energy tour around Decorah and promoted clean energy with the help of local leaders, during his summer internship with Iowa Interfaith Power and Light in Decorah, Iowa. Two local congregations hosted tour stops where Fraser helped highlight their efficiency and clean energy investments. He also organized meetings with local energy leaders to discuss possible involvement in the project. Liam learned how unifying the topic of energy can be in a small community like Decorah. "Everyone relies on energy to go about their days, so determining ways to improve efficiency often brings people together…[t]his internship allowed me to become more comfortable reaching out to various community members and marketing an event to a specific target audience," he said. Upon graduation, Liam will look into working for organizations such as Iowa Interfaith Power and Light or the Winneshiek Energy District. He believes developing community clean energy should be a national priority. The experience he has gained has inspired him to consider applying for graduate school.

Anna Ryden

Anna stands outside the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota.When: Summer 2017
Where: The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, Roseville, MN
Major: Environmental Studies and Biology

Anna spent her summer interning at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC). There, she assisted with the rehabilitation of animals and observed their development. She worked primarily in the mammal nursery, where she fed and cleaned the cages of baby mammals. Anna not only kept track of the needs of the different animals, she also spent time preparing the animals for their eventual release back into the wild. The internship taught her how to care for animals and monitor their development. The goal of the WRC to educate the community and protect the environment moved Anna. She loved watching the animals heal at the center, and this experience made her more interested in working with animals in the future.

Meghan Barker

Meghan Barker spent her summer interning with The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C., learning about environmental policies.When: Summer 2016
Where: The Wilderness Society, Washington, D.C.
Majors: Political Science, Environmental Studies

Over the summer, Meghan interned at The Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. She attended Congressional hearings and learned about public land policies. One issue she worked on included the maintenance of national parks. This was interesting to Meghan because, the year prior, she had spent the summer of Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. She had seen firsthand the impacts of this issue. Being able to examine environmental policies during both experiences helped Meghan understand them better. Washington, D.C. also gave her an alternative perspective from the one she had had while in Alaska. This new framework taught Meghan that it is important to have diverse experiences. Hers have continued to shape her understanding of the work that goes into preserving the environment. Meghan plans on using this knowledge to defend policies that protect public lands.

Hannah Garry

Hannah Garry and Brennen Reysack collecting data from long-term monitoring plots in Flying Squirrel Forest.When: Summer 2015
: Luther College Natural Areas

Hannah worked as a Land Stewardship Intern at Luther during the summer of 2015. Getting to participate in the management of Luther’s natural areas by conducting plant surveys, clearing trails, removing invasive species and reintroducing native plants gave her a better understanding of how complicated and time consuming land restoration and management can be. One of the most satisfying parts of her job was getting to see people enjoying the prairies and woodlands she worked in. Hannah’s experience with Land Stewardship this summer reinforced her belief in restoring disturbed landscapes and in the future she hopes to continue working towards providing and maintaining spaces for outdoor recreation and research.

Laura Proescholdt

Internship - In a New Light

When: Summer, 2014
Where: In a New Light

Laura worked as an expressive arts intern at Northwest Passage as part of the In a New Light team, a nature photography program that provides opportunities for hope and healing through art. Located in northwestern Wisconsin, Northwest Passage is a residential treatment center for youth ages 12-17 with mental, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Over the course of the summer, she was able to explore the connection between mental health and sustainability by accompanying youth on photography expeditions along the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, facilitating one-on-one reflection writing, exploring grant writing, and assisting with Sustainable Living Group, an environmental education initiative at the girls facility. Laura says the experience enabled her to grasp the highly therapeutic potential of natural places.

Bailey Devine

Internship - Bailey Devine

When: Summer, 2014
Where: Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa

Bailey was stationed at a Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in northwest Minnesota and focused on water monitoring, wetland delineation, and conservation projects. She was able to experience the balance of internal SWCD responsibilities, such as attending meetings with the DNR and organizing data, with the exterior field work of gaining support for grants, monitoring soils, and planting trees. As a part of her internship with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa, Bailey had the privilege to oversee the construction and implementation of a rain garden in front of the Ralph Engelstad Arena and learned the importance of communicating with a variety of organizations and viewpoints. After completing her work last summer, Bailey is confident she wants to work in a field that positively impacts the environment and has become aware of many additional federal, county, and city government positions.

Connor Mattison

Internship - Connor Mattison

When: Summer, 2014
Where: Patchwork Green Farm and River Root Farm

Last summer, Connor worked at two vegetable producing farms in the Decorah area. Root River Farm is a USDA certified organic farm specializing in MicroGreens and bulk vegetable sales, while Patchwork Green Farm is not certified organic, but practices organically. They both specialize in individual and some bulk produce sales, primarily at the Winneshiek Farmers Market and Decorah businesses such as the Coop, La Rana, and Rubaiyat. Much of Connor’s summer involved physical garden work like weeding, hoeing, watering, harvesting, and washing, but he also assisted in sales and helped organize a bi-monthly CSA member delivery. Besides learning how to drive a tractor and cleaning over 16,000 heads of garlic, Connor was able to discover how his love for gardening could become a potential career.