11 January 2024

Task 1: Exploration

Written by: Charisse Walker

My time as a fellow has been an adventure so far. Most of the beginning was going through a bunch of introductory stages. I had to explore not only my facility but my new living area. I moved here from Tennessee, so everything here is new, especially the environment. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Brigham City, Utah, is where I am stationed for my fellowship. 

As the name suggests, the Refuge is a managed wetland for migratory birds. There is a nice trail to walk if you want a glimpse at what a wetland looks like. I enjoyed it, but the better “attraction” is their auto tour, which is a self-guided tour on one of the refuge’s sections of land. I accompanied some volunteers to do a bird count for the refuge, and it was fun because I learned about new species and saw massive numbers of birds.

On my own time away from the refuge, I have explored a little around the Ogden, UT area, where I live. I visited a couple of churches to see what I would like and found this lovely one. I was able to connect with a young adult group they have after church on Sundays. Not only do I believe this is good for me, but I believe this is a good place to start when doing community outreach. I even helped with their trunk-or-treat experience for Halloween and attended a few get-togethers which were pretty fun!

In other explorations, I discovered some interesting places. I have seen some promising places where outreach could be done such as a nearby college, a few parks, and some non-profit organizations. The most recent thing I did was venture to Ogden Nature Center with my on-site supervisor and volunteer coordinator! In the future, I will work alongside them with some of their restoration plans for their site. It wasn’t necessarily my free time doing this, but I still had fun. We looked at their outdoor classroom and play areas which were fun to explore and climb on.

We went there on two separate occasions because the contact we were supposed to meet couldn’t meet us on the first visit. It was two of us in the second round, and we were able to discuss essentially the restoration project plans of the nature center. I say “we” but I mean “they” discussed things while I observed and took notes. It's starting to put into perspective what my time here will be like after I get through all the “beginning phases” of this fellowship. Both trips were fun even though the second trip was more informative, I still appreciated the experience! (On a side note, I saw mule deer on both trips and that’s exciting to me because I’ve never seen a mule deer in person before!) With all that being said,  I’d say my first month here at Bear River has been an adventure, and I’m excited for what’s next!

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