Posts Tagged ‘internship’


Blog: Summer Interning with Cascadia Wildlands

by Legal Intern Kat Fiedler
This week I am wrapping up my legal internship with Cascadia Wildlands. I have spent my summer conducting legal research and drafting memos and litigation documents across the scope of Cascadia’s work. While much of my time was spent in the legal weeds, the breadth of issues left me with a snapshot of the threats that the wild places and wildlife face throughout Cascadia and a better understanding of the legal tools we have to stop them. My work has included challenging timber sales that threaten wildlife, water quality, and general ecosystem health, strengthening or preserving wildlife protections for both marbled murrelets and wolves, and strategizing over the faulty legal structure governing suction dredge mining in the state of Washington. I was also able to observe many of the administrative procedures that underlie much of the decision making surrounding our wild places.
Elliott-Tim G 61316-6820[11]Exploring these places was, of course, a highlight of the summer. In June, I joined Cascadia Wildlands’ Executive Director Josh Laughlin, Wildlands Campaign Director Robin Meacher, and a number of Cascadia members on a hike into the 30,500-acre proposed Devils Staircase wilderness down to the namesake waterfall in the Oregon Coast Range. The experience was incredible. Having to navigate and bushwhack through such an untouched place provides a much different experience. It’s hard, and it’s worth it. Nothing can be taken for granted. It is impossible to ignore the thickets of underbrush that grab at your ankles, or the call of an owl when you stop to catch your breath, or the sunlight punching through the canopy illuminating a pink rhododendron. We reached the Devils Staircase bruised, sweaty, and happy – ready for the refreshing water. And it was all ours for the afternoon. The forest gifted us salmonberries on the final stretch home.
But even our forests marred by a matrix of ownership and scars of our state’s timber history somehow feel equally alive. That’s the beauty of Oregon, of Cascadia. I explored the Elliott State Forest, located just south of Devil’s Staircase, and learned about its imperfect history, but also the current threat of privatization. This place, too, was rich. In just a few hours, hiking along an elk trail, we spotted a bear, heard the call of owls, stepped over cougar scat, and gazed up into the canopies of legacy Douglas firs. The Elliott is not disposable.
This place is what I call home, and it has been an enormous privilege to work to protect it alongside the amazing folks at Cascadia Wildlands. I will finish up my studies at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies this next year, and look forward to returning home to start my career continuing this work protecting our wild and public lands.
(Elliott State Forest photo by Tim Giraudier)

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

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