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A Recipe for a Stellar Summer

Jul 12 2018

Carrying a sonde during a water quality sampling (credit: Sonja Wolke)
 

Carrying a sonde during a water quality sampling   Sonja Wolke
 

By Zach Clayton
Environmental Systems Engineering, 2020
Software and Web Development Intern
Henry's Fork Foundation

Out West Student Blog

Student Blog

I sure was hoping to learn this summer, but I didn’t expect cooking would be included. After coasting by on dining hall food for the past year, it looked like I needed to brush up on my culinary skills. Turns out I didn’t have much to start with (Hello, scrambled eggs and spaghetti!), but three weeks in, I can claim I know how to make all key elements of a meal.

The Main Dish

Here’s your meat and potatoes, or as I learned from my fellow interns, tofu and quinoa (more on that in The Sides). The Henry’s Fork Foundation has a network of 11 sondes (underwater probes recording data like temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity) placed throughout the watershed. Currently, we must physically visit these sondes to download the information, decreasing its accessibility. Therefore, alongside my supervisor, Melissa Muradian, I’m automating the network to transmit data wirelessly to the office, and developing a scientific website so anyone can view and understand that data. You might find me programming equipment for deployment, using power tools to build a sturdy wood shelter for the instruments, and writing code for the website. I definitely am triple-checking the correct wiring connections - don’t want to blow up anything expensive!

Water quality website for Henry’s Fork

The Sides

The first week here, my side dish was putting salsa on a cheese quesadilla. Thankfully, I never struggled when it came to exploring Ashton and beyond. Waking up at dawn to fly-fish the Henry’s Fork before work. Fishing until dark, then swinging by the drive-in for a burger and root beer float. When I’m not testing the trout, I cruise on my mountain bike below the Tetons, encounter grizzly bears and bison in Yellowstone, and enjoy music festivals in the mountains with my fellow interns. And thanks to their helpful cooking tutorials, I’ve greatly expanded my menu.

Artistic License

I can guarantee you feel like a real cook the first time you use garlic powder. A little pinch of this, a sprinkle of oregano, a dash of chili powder; the end result may be mediocre, but at least that chicken isn’t too bland anymore. The first time Melissa and I headed out into the field to collect water quality samples, I randomly selected a pair of waders to stay dry in the river. Later that day, I quickly discovered I could fit two of me inside those waders and still have room. Coupled with its suspenders and my cowboy hat from home, I’m proud to achieve an impressive look that would make any rodeo clown jealous. In just a few weeks, I’ve developed both my coding and culinary abilities, and I can’t wait to wade in and see what the next few weeks hold!

Read more at the Out West Student Blog »

 

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