Dave Daly’s Wild Internship

Dave Daly on the job in Alaska

KSC geography major Dave Daly got back to campus for his senior year a little late this fall. Travel along the first leg of his journey home was a little iffy. He was returning from an internship with the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association out of Kenai, Alaska, that he’d landed through the Student Conservation Association (SCA). He and an internship partner spent the summer camped along Alaska’s remote Susitna River, where they collected data on the adult sockeye salmon as they migrated upstream to spawn and die. A float plane brought them to camp, and delivered their supplies every two weeks. Their only contact with civilization came via a 20-minute satellite phone call they could make every other week, or mail that came in and out on the supply plane. They did have neighbors though—the furry, unwelcome kind who were only interested in the food supplies.

“The internship was amazing,” Dave reported. The interns set up a weir and live box along the creek to trap the salmon for sampling, which included recording the length, sex, and weight. When they weren’t working, the pair hiked and explored the Alaskan bush. “It was a fun eight weeks in the wilderness,” Dave said. “We saw two black bears (one came into camp and got two pounds of ground beef out of our cooler), a brown bear, a few beavers, some bald eagles, lynx, porcupine, mice, squirrels, ravens, and lots of salmon. Whenever we left camp, we carried a shotgun for protection. … We also had the opportunity to take a helicopter far up the creek to take out beaver dams so the sockeye could continue up the creek. Out on the boat, we could see snow covered mountains with glaciers between the peaks.”

Do you know Dave? Drop him a line to welcome him, and his wealth of experience, home.