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Individual Placement Program

[Image Description: A MCC member and Forest Service employee are rafting down a river. The Forest Service employee is rowing the raft while the other is holding onto paperwork, likely for the survey they are completing. Off in the distance, there are mass

Finding Gratitude in a Routine

Annie takes a selfie with her coworkers.

I moved to Montana in the summer of 2021 for an internship with the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC). I’ll admit, I was nervous for this to start; as I’ve just gotten back from Europe. I spent three months in Greece and one month running around Europe in hopes of seeing as much as I can. MCC was the last thing on my mind at the time. I had a week to adjust to the different time zones and complete the tasks put out before me. My assignment as a soil analyst with the Bureau of Land Management takes place in Billings Montana, the largest city in Eastern Montana.

Learning about the ground I’m walking on every day has helped me find a new appreciation for the planet we all live on. I’m learning how to identify the story of various plots in Eastern Montana by identifying characteristics like the types of landforms the soil could be on, how the slope influences the history of the land, and taking various pediments from my soil pit so I can identify shifts in the stability of the land. I’m doing this by analyzing the texture and the amount of carbonates, and matching the coloring differences of horizons to figure out how old it is.

I knew my work was going to be extremely significant but I didn’t know how much gratitude I was going to feel going to work every day. I know I’m doing something that’s directly related to the issue of climate change as a whole. I also didn’t know I was going to meet as many people who are as driven to learn about the planet as I am as well.

Spending ten hours a day with my crew has given me such a new perspective on the world. I’ve been able to ask as many questions as my mind can think of at a time, and it seems like someone always knows the answer. Being able to talk to the founder of the Action in Monitoring (AIM) program has given me a new understanding of how important it is to have a uniform way of assessing land quality and why although it seems tedious, is actually extremely significant.

The number of new people I’ve met, places I’ve gone, and things I’ve learned have made this summer one of the most unforgettable yet. Even though it’s around the start of my term and I know I haven’t been here long I have a feeling it’s gonna fly by before I know it.