We've been fortunate to have the help from our seasonal staff over the summer. Field techs Sneha Roa (left) and Tiffany Thio (right) have been busy in the field collecting data for our monitoring program—plus a few other duties. On the day pictured, they were building an electric fence to keep cattle out of one of our monitoring plots near Ridgefield National Widlife Refuge.
Sneha comes to us with a broad background in environmental research and projects. She previously worked as an Environmental Consultant in Dubai, with a major focus on environmental permitting and marine projects. Her other endeavors include studying the effect of topography on blue carbon stores in seagrass beds of Zanzibar and building artificial reefs to aid the improvement of reef fish in United Arab Emirates. Sneha holds an M.S. in marine science from Bangor University, UK.
Tiffany holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies-Chemistry from Reed College. Her senior thesis focused on the concentration and distribution of metal pollutants in lower Johnson Creek sediment. Here are Tiffany's reflections on her first day in the field:
“On my fourth day at the Estuary Partnership, we threw on our brand new waders and headed to Horsetail Creek in the Gorge. Our mission that day was to deploy and retrieve several depth and temperature loggers. Despite having hiked near these Horsetail Falls before, I’d never been to the area we ended up in—and it was so stunningly beautiful! That day we got a lot of practice walking (and falling) through water and on a variety of riverbeds—from smooth and slippery rocks to the softest clouds of mud—as we made our way from site to site. Figuring out how to attach the data loggers to stable river structures was an exercise in creativity. I never thought I’d have to hammer a nail underwater, or daisy chain zip ties to a log. My favorite part of the day was when we saw tiny juvenile salmon—they were around the length of my pinky finger, and so adorable. One surprising moment was receiving questions about the Gorge from visitors in the parking lot—apparently wearing waders and holding a clipboard gives you instant credibility. I’ve learned an incredible amount about wetland habitats and how water quality monitoring works. Aside from being a mosquito buffet for what seems like the entire watershed, I’ve really enjoyed working in the field and am looking forward to more learning and experiences through the rest of the summer.”
Summer Environmental Interns Michelle Barrios-Campos (left) and Marissa Pasaye-Elias (right) have also been a key part of our team, helping to lead summer Big Canoe paddles and gaining experience interpreting the river's ecology.
Marissa is a rising senior at De La Salle North Catholic High School, and has previous experience interning with Northwest Youth Corps, City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, The Standard, and Equilibrium Capital. She hopes someday to open her own school.
Michelle is working towards a Bachelors Degree in Marine Biology and a minor in Child and Adolescent Development at California State University, Northridge, and wants to pursue education in science. Michelle shares about her first time leading one of our Big Canoes:
“One of my more memorable paddles was when I paddled with Tender Loving Care – Think N Try (TLC-TnT) last month. TLC-TnT is a free summer camp for North Portland kids. My canoe was full of 2nd and 3rd graders, along with camp counselors who were in high school and college. It was my first time leading the Big Canoe from the front and teaching the kids more about the environment. During the paddling trip we talked about the floating homes along the river, and the different birds that we saw along the way, like cormorants, great blue heron, and bald eagles. On our paddle back to Willamette Park we did “power paddles,” when everyone counts together to make the canoe go faster. The best part about these power paddles was that everyone was counting to 100 in English and Spanish as well. For me, it was great to see how many kids went from being initially scared to get on the canoe, to not wanting to get off because they were having so much fun. I loved seeing everyone learn more about the Willamette River and work together as a team.”