Unexpected, Everyday Learning and Discovery

Hello my name is Raylynn Herrera. I am 14 years old and currently attending Robertson High School. I was informed about this internship by my dad who works for River Source, I figured why not try it out as I’m not doing much this summer.

Even though I worked with my dad in the past and knew a majority of the stuff that I thought was going to be taught I still managed to learn a lot and I’m glad I did. I got to go to places many people can’t go, like the Upper Santa Fe watershed and some of the Water Quality and SIM Table offices.

It’s interesting to notice that I enjoyed doing the work I did, although I felt like it all ended too quickly and at times it didn’t seem like it did at all. There are so many fields of work that are put into water quality such as all the different types of jobs you could have and still be part of the water quality field.

I enjoyed a good percentage of the job, like meeting new people when before I had no idea who they were. I enjoyed going out to do field work and brainstorming ideas to help restore the land, and make the water more resourceful without also ruining the land. I enjoyed using the tools like, shovels, saws (including the hand saws, bow saw, and sawzalls) digging bar, post hole digger, pickaxe, axe, and a compass. All was provided to clear trees of undergrowth and to thin them out. But they also helped with erosion control and installing picture posts. We would take the branches we cut or some rocks or even some spare man made materials like cement from roads (aka urbanite). And place them in eroding channels to help with erosion control. The branches were used to act as filters for the flowing water to catch the sediment that the water carried. Some of the things we added to help the water quality were one rock dams and media lunas. Though there are other options like splash pools, Zuni bowls and Gabions.

I did enjoy visiting the Upper Santa Fe Watershed and studying the stream flow of the river that could provide Santa Fe with 75 – 100% of its water. Although at the moment none of the water from the upper watershed is going to Santa Fe because they are trying to fill up the reservoirs. We also used phones given to us to document our work. We took pictures and used maps to pinpoint where picture posts were or any important river feature such as erosion or overgrowth.

We also used applications to document our work, such as the newly developed app called Survey123. We would select boxes that applied to our environments we were studying. And we’d even use drones to help study the land from above or places we were otherwise inaccessible.

What might I do with the information I learned? That’s a good question, though I’m not sure myself. I am interested in science so maybe I will want to work in the field of water quality or something similar. Even if I don’t choose to work in these fields, I’ll gladly support this work. I could inform others who are interested in this work like future interns. So maybe working in education. I am also thinking of signing up for the internship next year, maybe if I did I could help the new interns with what I learned from my experiences this year. I could also learn more and would love to learn more about what I can do to help with water conservation and what I can do to help with the land.

To conclude at River Source I learned things I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever learn! I can easily say it was a pretty awesome job to take, because you’re always doing something new. Everyday. The pay was good and my coworkers and mentors were some of the coolest and some of most relatable people I know.

I even made some friends and stronger relationships along the way. Starting out I was probably one of the most shy people there. It was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again. I highly suggest this job to those who are interested in the environment or anything related to the water quality. This concludes my experience of my internship for River Source, thank you for reading.