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Connecting Conservation and Community

Fiona Noonan spent the summer of 2014 in Yellowstone through a Bill Lane Center internship. Now, she is hosting her own summer intern at the Deschutes Land Trust in Central Oregon. See how exploring the West taught Noonan about the importance of place.

Fiona Noonan, BS ‘17, has always loved the great outdoors, and her education in conservation started early.

“I was really lucky to go to a high school that placed a lot of emphasis on place-based experiential education and sustainability,” she said. “We’d go to someplace in the Mount Hood National Forest for a week and pull invasives or build fences.”

But it was her summer internship through the Bill Lane Center for the American West that led her to her calling: restoring lands while balancing the needs of local communities.

Noonan now works with the Deschutes Land Trust in Central Oregon. She credits that summer in Yellowstone National Park with helping her understand how important “place” is to understanding issues that cross the West. Now, she is passing that knowledge on to another Bill Lane Center intern.

Without the experiences she had in Yellowstone, she says, “I’m not sure I would have ended up here.”

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