I participated in Landscape & Livelihood in the fall of 2009. It was my first time in the northwest, and, after the 9 day backpacking trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, I was hooked. The courses and the instructors were so engaging and hands-on, and I was introduced to concepts that I hadn't encountered in my undergrad biology and ecology classes. The watershed dynamics course with Andrea really spurred an interest in hydrology and stream restoration (which years later became my master's focus). Besides just the education I received from this awesome program, I was fortunate to be surrounded by some really spectacular people (several of whom I'm still great friends with) who all shared a similar passion for natural resource conservation.
I loved Connections and the Swan Valley so much that I came back the following summer as a field intern, helping Adam with fisheries monitoring and grizzly bear population monitoring. What a great summer being back in a place I loved so much.
After graduation the following year, I was committed to working out west and took positions with the Bureau of Land Management, first in Miles City, MT and then in Carson City, NV, and then with a private environmental consulting company in Whitefish, MT. It was then that I decided to pursue my master's in ecohydrology at the University of Idaho (including a summer working as a hydrologic technician for the Forest Service).
A few months after graduating, I was fortunate to land my dream job in a dream location - a permanent position as a wetland and water scientist for a small environmental consulting company in Jackson, WY! I was selected from a field of 55 applicants, based in large part on my diverse background in biology, botany, and hydrology, coupled with strong technical writing skills. So I guess my advice would be to equip yourself with hard sciences and get experience in multiple different companies/agencies and locations to gain a broad range of skills. And do a program with SVC - it'll change your life!!