By Hannah Robinson
Being a student at a state university, I have been given many amazing opportunities in the biology world.
My particular interest in stream ecology forced me to look for opportunities outside of the university to get the experience and exposure I wanted.
Luckily, I live in the Ozarks where we love our water. While attending field trips to many of our local water quality contributors, such as the wastewater treatment plant and tours of urban streams, I asked about groups that may take a volunteer or intern.
The response always included praises for the James River Basin Partnership (JRBP).
As fate would have it, a group at Missouri State made it known to me that JRBP was looking for an intern. I quickly contacted them for information about the position.
It turned out that they hadn’t even made the flyer for the position yet! Once the flyer was available, I reviewed it and applied. I was fortunate enough to get an interview where I met Todd Wilkinson, Tim Smith, and Brent Stock.
They were quite a fun group, and I could tell this would be a great opportunity for whoever got the position. Lucky enough, I got the call! The rest is history, literally.
While working with JRBP my primary mission has been to tend to their historical collection, which resembled an untended garden due to their limited staff. I weeded through all their historical collections from CDs and photos to newspaper articles.
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Picking through the collections, I witnessed how far JRBP had come. Through the years, since the organization started in 1997, the local media has changed their verbiage about the James River significantly due to the diligent work from JRBP and their partners.
In addition to working on historical records, I have assisted with office organization and their river outreach programs. JRBP is a small, grass-root organization that produces a high yield per employee. Despite the large workload and small staff, everyone in the office is very friendly.
From the two contract employees who are full of jokes and knowledge, Tim Smith and Loring Bullard, to Kathrine the QuickBooks wizard, and the two full-time employees, Todd Wilkinson and Brent Stock. The office is full of fun.