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Demmer Scholars: Fireworks, fishing and more fishing
Blogger: Brooke Merrill, one of 23 MSU students in the Demmer Scholar Washington, DC, program, a senior-level class in natural resources policy that meets one night a week and all day Saturday while working full-time as paid interns at federal agencies or non-governmental organizations that focus on natural resources.
Yet again, I had another whirlwind of a busy week! With Congress being out of session, the office here in DC was a virtual ghost town. The Fourth of July festivities made up for that though!
This past weekend I visited my roommate from college in her hometown of Lititz, Penn. I had a wonderful, relaxing time, and I even got some home-cooked meals. By far the best part of my weekend was the Segway tour of Gettysburg! We accepted our nerdiness and covered 9 miles of history in 2.5 hours. The landscape was beautiful and with the Segways we escaped walking a lot of hills in 90-degree weather.
Tuesday was the calmest day of my week. It was just a normal workday until our Internet went out. Stuck with nothing to do, all the Trout Unlimited interns cleaned out a shelf. Then I went to a public commenting period the EPA hosted on hydraulic fracturing. Only one group made a comment, The League of Conservation Voters.
This is me with Ki, one of the best little fishermen out there! At the end of the day he was already telling fishing stories.
My Fourth of July was extremely rewarding. In the middle of DC there is a retirement home for older veterans that sits on 250 acres of woods and a few fishing ponds. The home opened itself up to the public for the day; there were food trucks, activities, and Trout Unlimited teaching children how to fish! I had such a good time; I was able to be outside fishing and hanging out with some pretty cool kids! The home stocked the ponds with bass and bluegill, so every child was able to catch a fish! They were all so excited, and for many of them it was the first time they had ever gone fishing. The event was a great success, and we ended up discovering one of the best spots to watch the fireworks.
The following day, July 5, we went fishing again! Thankfully coffee exists, because I was up and fishing by 7:30 a.m. My trip was definitely worth it though. The Government Affairs team at Trout Unlimited had a fantastic fishing day planned for us interns. We fished a tributary of the Potomac, and we eventually made it to where the two rivers met up! This was my first experience with a fly rod, and I will say I’m hooked. I even caught a nice little sunfish. Our afternoon fishing spot was also right on the Potomac; we rented rowboats and fished for longnose gar. These fish look like dinosaurs; they have a very long mouth with a row of needle sharp teeth. On top of that they are aggressive fish too, so we had lots of fun fishing for them.
After an eventful week, I’m tired and very sunburnt. It all worth it, and definitely one of the best July 4s I’ve ever had.