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Student Intern Finds Home on the Range

Rinker Rock Creek Ranch summer work offers students experience and community

Jarin Ebbers expected his summer internship at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch to be a solitary adventure surrounded by sagebrush. Instead, the senior from Weiser became part of a tight-knit ranch community.

“The ranch brings people together for just a summer, but we got to know each other really well.”Jarin Ebbers, intern at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch

“The ranch brings people together for just a summer, but we got to know each other really well,” he said. “We worked and cooked and ate alongside each other on this massive landscape that is just an incredible place.”

Rinker Rock Creek Ranch is a working ranch that doubles as a place for rangeland scientists to conduct research. During his time on the ranch, Ebbers, a double-major in wildlife and fishery resources with a minor in rangeland ecology and management, gained research and plant identification skills, and found a deep appreciation for the landscape.

One of his first activities on the ranch was working with cattle — U of I has 162 cow-calf pairs and 75 bred heifers there while Prescott Cattle runs 80 cows and 75 yearlings on the ranch. Ebbers had never worked with livestock, but soon discovered that he enjoyed time in the corrals.

“It was always one of those days I looked forward to. There’s just something fun about working with cattle,” he said.

“You’d think it’d be hard to be out there for three months…but it becomes like a little home.”Jarin Ebbers, intern at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch

Over the summer, Ebbers and another intern, senior Shannon Wilkey, completed a mix of labor-intensive chores — such as replacing barbwire fence with wildlife-friendly fence — and science-based activities like digging soil pits and monitoring riparian areas for vegetation of interest. Ebbers is primarily interested in wildlife, but through these tasks, he came to appreciate the land that wildlife is reliant upon.

“If there’s nothing on the range for wildlife survival, then wildlife aren’t going to be here,” he said. “A lot of land in Idaho is rangeland, so it’s important to understand how to take care of it.”

Now back in Moscow for classes, Ebbers said that Rinker Rock Creek Ranch made a lasting impact on his life.

“It was a really good summer. A productive summer,” he said. “You’d think it’d be hard to be out there for three months in a tent, but by the end of it, it becomes like a little home.”

Ebbers digging a soil pit
Ebbers digging a soil pit, one of the many tasks he did while working at Rinker Rock Creek Ranch. Photo courtesy Shannon Wilkey.

Article by Lindsay Lodis, College of Natural Resources.

Published October 2019

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