Temperatures are rising and biting insects are peaking. plenty to complain about while outdoors; I honestly
found myself getting a bit frustrated with the bugs a couple of times last week.
Last Wednesday, I hiked the Reflection Lakes trail. It was a pretty cool hike (compared to our recent
temperatures) and I didn't see too many people until I reached some of the upper plots. On this day, I felt a
sense of calm as I walked along the trail, slower than I normally do, collecting data and just taking in my
surroundings. This sense of tranquility followed me to the end of the maintained trail where I found a nice
rocky area to sit down, have lunch, and reflect on the summer so far. I've certainly thought about this before,
but in this moment I was able to reflect on how fortunate I am to have this internship this summer.
In April, after a dismal interviewing experience with Seattle City Light and several rejection emails from other
government entities in the area I was starting to get nervous about the prospect of not securing an internship
this summer; something I needed for 1.) income and 2.) to fulfill the 400 hour internship requirement set in
place by the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance for their MPA candidates. I was nervous, but
marginally optimistic because I knew my dream internship for the summer was as far away from the office
building settings of the internships I had applied to up to that point. That dream became reality when a friend
told me about the MeadoWatch opportunity. I applied and here I am today.
While reflecting in my lunch spot on Wednesday, I thought about how grateful I am to be in this position; the
opportunity to participate in a program so closely aligned with my personal passions and and career goals is
not Iost on me. I have been gifted with an amazing opportunity that is allowing me to realize the trite phrase,
"find a job you enjoy and you will never work a day in your life," even if this job only lasts a few months.
I also reflected on the role that African-Americans play in environmentalism, the erasure of African-American
environmentalists from mainstream history, and the relationship many African-Americans today have with
the "environment" and outdoor recreation. As an African-American man, I thought about the widespread
belief among many of my peers that outdoor recreation and environmentalism are "white people activities".
I began to hope that my visibility in my current position, albeit a small one, and passion for the outdoors and
environmentalism can begin to change this belief that many of my peers have.
I know this blog is vastly different from the ones I have written so far, but I really just wanted to take the time
to express my gratitude for this program and everyone involved in it. I wanted to express how much it means
to me that I have the opportunity to participate in a program like this and I know it would be absolutely
impossible for me to have this experience without you, MeadoWatchers. After my reflection, I realized
characterizing the bugs as even a minor nuisance would be an overstatement.
I hope the MeadoWatch 2018 season has been as much of a joy for you as it has been for
me. As always, I hope I have the opportunity to see some of you all on the trails in the future!
All the Best,