My Summer as a Legal Intern at Cascadia Wildlands

My experience as a legal intern with Cascadia Wildlands this summer was extremely rewarding, both professionally and personally.  My research helped answer important questions to advance our legal claims in various challenges to federal agency authorizations of timber sales in Oregon.  I wrote legal memos including an informative memorandum regarding a new potential area of litigation, edited briefs and complaints, helped file a complaint, and drafted a complaint for a new lawsuit.  In addition to providing legal research and writing skills for ongoing environmental litigation, I was involved in settlement meetings, legal strategy discussions, and was even privileged to go on field trips to experience a few of the places we protect.

Beyond a legal capacity, I helped with outreach, event planning, and fundraising.  I organized the Wolf Station at the Oregon Country Fair, was the emcee for a fundraiser at Cozmic Pizza, and tabled at the Northwest String Summit.  I educated the public about wolves in Oregon and helped collect signatures for a petition to end harmful rhetoric about wolves by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.  Not only did I learn how to practically apply my legal knowledge to environmental protection and wildlife law, but I also learned about managing an environmental non-profit organization.

I really enjoyed working with everyone at Cascadia Wildlands.  The office is very intimate (read: small), so it is important to be respectful and mindful of conversations and the workloads of others.  We had weekly conservation meetings, which I valued because it kept everyone informed of what we had accomplished, what we were working towards, and how we can work together to achieve our goals.  There are many moving parts of the organization, and it was nice to have a cohesive discussion every week.  Beyond a professional relationship, I have become close with my co-workers and supervisor, and I know that I could go to any one of them if I ever have a question about anything, environmental law-related or not.

Interning with Cascadia Wildlands, I also learned a lot about Oregon.  From my field trips, I have become familiar with some of Oregon’s biology, and I can identify trees, plants, animals, and insects.  I have also gotten more familiar with the lay of the land, and I have developed a deep appreciation for the climates and landscapes of the state.  Working to protect wild lands and wildlife has connected me even more to my new home.  

I wouldn’t trade my experience with Cascadia Wildlands this summer for anything.

— by Meg Townsend