These past few weeks have been a roller coaster of responsibilities, emotions, and experiences! I have attended many Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife agency meetings and better understand the inner workings of their mission and obligations to the public. What I have learned is that there are pros and cons to working for an agency. The collaborative and “team” aspect of agency work seems the most fulfilling. However, the biggest con of working for an agency like ODFW is that as the face of the agency, an employee needs to directly reflect the agency’s mission in all professional actions. To some degree, I would like my future career or professional goals to allow me the freedom to be an environmental advocate or activist. Also, there will always be some level of inefficiency within agency level work at the state or federal government level. I have realized how collaborative ODFW is with other working bodies like Oregon State University, PISCO, and other organizations.
I would say I have learned a lot about science policy this summer. Historically, there has been a gap between science and policy communication. I think during my lifetime and beyond, this gap could either widen or narrow and that it is our responsibility as future scientists and policy makers to realize these will always be interconnected. Win/win scenarios can occur with policy and science. It is still a very complicated dilemma, and many of us already realize this from our experiences this summer. I see state level agency work potentially weaving in and out of my future. However, I will always be a steward of the earth and our environment and this will truly be what guides my career direction.
Overall, I have learned a lot from working with ODFW and have met great people with different educational and career backgrounds. By far, my interactions with the individuals within the Marine Reserves Division of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have been genuine and sincere. I hope to one day carry that much passion and grit in my future endeavors.
So far working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has been a great experience. The first few weeks of the job were spent creating codebooks for surveys, hashing out logistics regarding the sampling schedule, and getting out in the field to begin collecting the 800+ visitor intercepts needed for the final project statistics. I also conducted business surveys in Lincoln City and this upcoming week I will be conducting them in Yachats, OR.
Usually, my work day begins with much needed coffee and stuffing various things into my backpack to successfully complete a day of visitor surveys. At around 8-9 AM, I began traveling to certain sites along the Oregon Coast’s marine reserves to initiate participation in ODFW’s anonymous business and visitor surveys. At around 3:30-4:00, site surveying is typically complete and the teams meet back up in the office for data entry and other logistics regarding ID numbers for surveys or scheduling. Much of the data collection of this project comes directly from the public. Therefore, a majority of my time has been spent at Oregon’s marine reserves. I check in with supervisors once a week and team meetings happen during these check ins as well.
I would say that my motivation has come directly from the team members that I work with and support from friends or family. I would also go as far to say that being able to call the Oregon Coastline my office for several hours of the day helps me realize that much of my worries or doubts are unnecessary-I’m in a beautiful place! I am now fully vaccinated and glad that I could contribute to the numbers that lifted the mask mandate. Perhaps my favorite part of the job so far is that while conducting visitor surveys I meet so many dogs or young kiddos ready to play on the beach!
My name is Phoenix A. McFarlane and I am a Doris Duke Conservation Scholar who is going to spend the summer right alongside Oregon SeaGrant’s Summer Scholars! I am a junior at the University of Idaho and am majoring in Environmental Science. Though I thoroughly enjoy the outdoor recreation and wilderness aspects of Idaho, I was ready for a change! Spending the summer on the Oregon Coast is going to be an unforgettable adventure!!!
For my summer internship, I am working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) within their Marine Reserves division. My summer will be spent conducting visitor surveys in hopes of assessing awareness of Oregon’s marine reserves amongst the visitor population. Also, I will be surveying coastal businesses and determining if they have faced any socioeconomic impacts from the implementation of the marine reserves. Though my summer will mostly consist of interactions amongst the public, I will also be tasked with the responsibilities of data entry and interpretation. So far I am realizing that it sounds easier said than done! However, I have no doubt I will overcome the obstacles and develop new skills that will help me in my future as a scientist.
Overall, the exploring I have accomplished up to this point has been a much needed change of scenery. Slowly in the process of getting familiar with the coastal species and their common names. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the connections I am making! Shoutout to my roomies Grace Roa and Lisette Perez for making this summer experience that much more meaningful!