Interns Bringing Expertise to the Hidden Valley

The January and March Hidden Valley planting events provided an opportunity for the Preserve Committee to meet four candidates for the 2023 Foundation internships. The Committee selected Jacob Weber and Jessica Whitehead as the 2023 Foundation interns. They will be working 10 hours per week until field season starts in mid-June, at which time they will start working 30 hours per week until mid-August.

Big tree with the deck around it centered in the picture, with other trees all around it.

Jacob is a Western Washington University student majoring in environmental science with a GIS minor. He has a background in wetlands delineation, riparian and native forest habitat reclamation, and trail maintenance. Jessica is an Olympic College student majoring in environmental and ecosystem science. She has a background in water quality analysis, wetland and stream delineation, and biological evaluations. Both Jacob and Jessica have great ideas about how we can help ensure the quality of water entering the Preserve from outside its boundaries.

Their priorities will include assessing the Preserve’s parcels remaining to be characterized, updating the Forest Management Plan, particularly regarding climate-related impacts, and developing methods for assessing stream, wetland, and riparian habitat conditions. The interns will present their work at our September board meeting.

Additionally, on March 14th, Amy Lawrence and I met with the Foundation’s new USDA NRCS representative Sean McDonagh at the Leber Lane Trailhead of the Ueland Tree Farm. We gave Sean a tour of the parcels in the southern part of the Preserve that will receive restorative thinning in 2024.

As spring turns to summer, we are looking ahead to all the good work remaining to be done to ensure healthy forests, waterways and wildlife habitat at the Preserve. We’re also excited to see the new pavilion used for educational field trips and community groups.

– Jeff Wirtz, President