A Wildlife Biologist Inspired: My Internship at River Source

Hello! I am Shay Hoskisson, a Santa Fe High School senior and I worked an internship with River Source in the summer of 2020.

Allow me to simply start off by saying that River Source created an amazing opportunity in these troubling times. The way the company operated in response to COVID-19 supported our work as well as our health. Not to mention it gave students like me an opportunity to leave the house, get some experience, and earn some cash. The company provided excellent PPE (personal protection equipment) such as gloves, hand sanitizer, KN-95 masks, and face shields. They took it very seriously to keep us and everyone safe and healthy during our time working.

This internship immediately piqued my interest for one reason–the experience I’d gain in a possible career path. Going into the Watershed Academy, I was already exploring the possible career of a Wildlife Biologist, so any work in nature was naturally an exciting opportunity to me. The opportunity River Source offered as well as my love for being outside inspired me to apply for the internship. As time went on, I discovered more cherries on top; such as the possibility of getting a tan, a daily workout, a way to help my community, some new friends and a strange love for hard work outside, which frankly makes me feel tough and happy. These are just a few of the examples. And there were many more to come.

The Work:

The internship had three main work sites, along with two minor projects. The main sites were Frenchy’s field, the new Herrera research center, and Bunny Ranch. At Frenchy’s Field, we tested the watershed depth throughout the Arroyo De Las Cruces. We also worked to get rid of the stinking elms. My collaborator Charlotte and I focused on Frenchy’s Field to write a management plan. The Herrera worksite was Carlos Herrera’s five acre plot near Cerrillos. We used brush to slow and spread streamflow which helped retain rainwater, as well as completing general clean up. Additionally we visited Bunny Ranch, a big public pot on the Northwest end of town. Here we used the same spreading and blocking techniques as on the Herrera site, chopping down juniper branches to build dams. Here I learned how to use an axe–a reminder to wear long sleeves!

The final two sites were the Pecos river and the El Rito creek. Here our goals were a lot more water based. And they were my favorite because I just live for the water. In both, we focused on data collection. This included testing the streamflow, the stability of the banks, the chemistry of water, and my personal favorite, benthic macroinvertebrate (sampling bugs in the water). I loved the benthics because it connects directly to my career goals. I have a big love for live organisms of all shapes and sizes, hence Wildlife Biology. Learning about the water and benthics in the Pecos brought me closer to a decision specifically to go into Marine biology. I did not expect this internship to teach me so much about myself!