A Summary of My Time at TU  – Sydney O’Connor

Almost all young people have a grand desire to change the world. However, it becomes all too easy to become static. Unsure of the best way to act and overwhelmed with life and its responsibilities, it is no wonder that the desire to initiate widespread positive change gets pushed to the side. However, as my experience with Trout Unlimited has proved to me there are a multitude of ways, both big and small, for me to have a positive impact in my community.  

Sydney along the Boise River in Esther Simplot Park

Growing up in Montana, I was fortunate enough to spend my upbringing exploring the outdoors. Trekking through her forests, moseying through her meadows, and fishing her rivers and streams I fell in love with Montana and all the outdoors had to offer. However, as my passion for the outdoors grew, I also came to realize that I shouldn’t take anything for granted. Despite the role the environment plays in healthy living and the existence of life on Earth, it is left without a voice to advocate for itself. The environment needs voices both loud and strong to protect it from harm.  

The 5 Rivers board representing at IF4 Film Fest!

Throughout my time as an intern, I have found my voice in Trout Unlimited. Something in particular that I enjoyed learning about was how Trout Unlimited brings together diverse interests to care for and recover rivers and streams. Not only did I get to work with TU National and people working on behalf of the Idaho Water & Habitat Program, but I was also able to work with my local chapter of TU to deliver on the mission through hands-on restoration and community engagement work.  

Sydney joining in on a Ted Trueblood Board Meeting at the new Idaho Fish & Game Office in Boise.

Additionally, during the Ted Trueblood Chapter’s annual membership celebration I got to meet many people who shared my interest of caring for the recovering of rivers and streams including classmates and teachers of mine at Boise State University. As part of a collaborative effort, we were able to initiate the first Five Rivers chapter at Boise State by creating the fly fishing club. In doing so we hope to get more students outdoors and help them to develop the love for fishing and the environment which resides deep within our hearts.  

Last but certainly not least, as part of my experience, I was fortunate enough to interview a multitude of team members working both in Idaho and throughout the country. It was through my meetings with them that I was able to see how a career centered around environmental protection could be actualized. Additionally, meeting so many people that cared so deeply about the work they were conducting revealed to me that my job and my passions do not have to be mutually exclusive. Special thanks to both mentors Ashlynn Goody and Kira Finkler who helped me along my journey as an intern. It is through them, people who care, that the younger generation, including myself, is empowered to make a difference.  

Written by Sydney O’Connor, Intern (Boise State University) for the Idaho Water and Habitat Program.

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