14 June 2024

May Oh My

Written by: Charisse Walker

May was my most active month yet! This was the start of some outreach events,  massive waves of field trips, weddings attended, and hanging out with friends. Not only has the pace ramped up, but this internship will be closing out for me in a few short months! I am always excited for the next adventure but it is crazy to think that so much time has passed so quickly. A lot has occurred but I’d like to highlight the Golden Spike Commencement and my traveling experiences.

May 10th and 11th of this year was the 155th anniversary of the Golden Spike Commencement! This celebration is more of a reminder of the hardships and the sacrifices that were made for the transcontinental railroad to be completed. A variety of men worked through grueling conditions, sicknesses, death, and prejudice/ racism. You would assume working together through harsh conditions would bring all the men together regardless of background, ethnicity, or race, but unfortunately, that was never the case. This year there was more emphasis on Chinese heritage because Chinese workers made up a large workforce for the railroad construction. Not to say the other groups (such as the Native Americans (NW Band of Shoshone), Irish, possibly African Americans, and others) weren’t important. Still, there was more of a spotlight on the Chinese workers and their descendants. There were Lion Dancers, a Chinese Choir, and other things that symbolized Chinese culture. The Shoshone opened the entire event with a blessing and played drums, taught a friendship dance, and served fried bread (which was delicious)! The Irish representatives put on some River Dances and played some Celtic Music. There was so much to see, witness, and learn and I enjoyed it. My part in all this was setting up an event table with other Refuge people to represent Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge. We were there to table but had a good amount of fun!

My traveling has also increased a lot starting the last day of April and it continued through the first week of June! I’ve taken the time to randomly reflect on how many times this month I didn’t sleep in my bed. I started this month by traveling to the Uinta Basin for a fieldwork experience. (I talked about this experience in my last blog.) In my personal time, I was invited to a few weddings! They were beautiful, fun, and exhausting. Now the month of June is firing away and outreach events are on the rise, but at least in my personal life, things have calmed down for now!

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