In the years following completion of my undergraduate degree in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (EEB) from the University of Minnesota, I have traveled far and wide looking for work and adventure, combining the two as often as possible. This blog was born out of a winter of discontent – sitting in my mother’s basement in a post-graduation stupor, restlessly applying for jobs and compulsively walking my dog. I promised myself I would never waste time like that again. I wrote one blog post that year.
Feeling beaten down by job rejections, I was forced to admit the dream of paid employment after college was more elusive than I was led to believe. I finally accepted an internship with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Working closely with the Forest Service and BLM, our group volunteered on dozens of projects, including trails maintenance, botany and wildlife. Armed with some federal experience and a more powerful resume, I left Idaho penniless and looking forward to a winter of…who knew? I got a job at a ski resort in Big Sky, Montana and learned how much fun skiing can be.
One downfall of seasonal employment is the constant search for work, and I spent much of my winter applying for jobs again, with the benefit of skiing Lone Peak in my free time. Finding a job was a relief. This summer, I was an assistant crew leader for the trails crew in Crater Lake National Park. I have since accepted a job in Rocky Mountain National Park as one of three wildlife biologists. We study toads, trout, and observe the large mammals that roam the park. On September 30th, our positions ended and we were laid-off until next summer. With money in the bank and nothing to do, winter is open for business. South America? Backcountry skiing in Montana? Heli-skiing in Alaska?