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Callista Martin Joins NCLC as 2023 Summer Intern


North Coast Land Conservancy’s stewardship team is benefitting from an extra pair of hands this summer, thanks to intern Callista Martin, who started her position June 20.

She is working with NCLC until mid-August, helping the stewardship team with Weed Warrior Wednesdays, volunteer work parties, site monitoring, invasive species removal, and a variety of other tasks aimed at caring for the organization’s habitat reserves on the Oregon Coast.

“I’m a mini steward,” Callista says.

Returning to the Oregon Coast

Callista moved to Coos Bay in second grade and lived there through high school. A self-described “science kid,” she watched National Geographic programs and dinosaur documentaries. At one point, she wanted to be a paleontologist. She also spent ample time outdoors, playing with newts and garter snakes.

“I think it’s hard not to be into science growing up in a small town on the coast,” she says. “It’s such a beautiful area.”

She attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. Her original plan was to pursue genetic counseling, but “I got distracted by ecology while I was at Whitman,” she says.

It wasn’t the lab work that appealed to her passions, but getting outside to do field work did the trick. She spent the summer of 2022 helping collect data on bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) at Wallula Gap on the Columbia River. The field work was part of a longitudinal study centered on climate change and how the plant reacts to shifts in environmental factors, such as temperature and moisture levels.

“It was super fun,” Callista says. “I had really wonderful coworkers, which was the best part of it.”

Upon graduating from Whitman in May with a bachelor’s degree in biology, she was looking for positions related to science and natural resource management on the northern Oregon Coast and eventually got connected with NCLC.

“I’m so excited to be back on the coast,” she says. “I’ve missed it.”

A Bright and Open Future

Callista is still exploring ideas for future careers and considering different applications for her biology degree and hands-on field work. She’s always loved writing and could see herself potentially pursuing science writing. During college, she took a science communications class and did an independent study session with the same professor, and it further reinforced the importance of making dense scientific data—and the technical language that accompanies it—more accessible to the general public in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them.

Other potential ideas include meandering into the medical field, pursuing genetic counseling, and working in family planning, as she once intended, or studying environmental and conservation law.

“There are so many things I want to do,” she says.

In addition to writing and biology, Callista also enjoys knitting, skiing, hiking and reading.


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