Hunter Paffrath, Public Affairs Specialist
Meet our 2023-2024 Interns!
Theya Buck: If you’ve recently dropped by the Grand Junction Field Office, you may have met intern Theya Buck! Theya is the Grand Junction Field Office’s Visitor Information Services intern, where she fields questions from public land users about mountain biking opportunities to fire restrictions. Theya was born in Grand Junction and but raised in Colorado Springs. She returned to Colorado’s western slope to attend Colorado Mesa University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in environmental science.
“I just really wanted to work in the natural resources field and with all the BLM land around Grand Junction I couldn’t think of a better spot to work out of,” Theya said.
Learning the ins and outs of how the BLM manages surface and subsurface acres in Colorado, and about the complex multiple use mission of the Bureau; are some of the things Theya hopes to accomplish during the internship. Theya plans to pursue a career with the BLM. She finds botany and ecology work to be of interest and would like to explore opportunities in those fields.
While attending college in Grand Junction, Theya spent a lot of time recreating with family and friends on BLM lands. Her favorite spots are Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area and the Mud Springs campground. In the future, Theya wants to visit Everglades National Park and BLM’s Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area.
Macie Wagner: Have you floated down the Colorado River near Kremmling this summer? If so, you may have floated by Kremmling Field Office’s River Ranger intern Macie Wagner. Macie spends her days patrolling the river making sure the public is recreating in a safe manner, as well as checking outfitters permits ensuring they are following all applicable regulations.
Macie is from Mesa, Arizona and is currently enrolled in an environmental studies program at Northern Arizona University. Upon the completion of her undergraduate degree, she desires to pursue a graduate certificate in river studies, also from Northern Arizona University.
“My favorite part of the job is when I’m able to educate the public on river safety as I’m floating down the river in an inflatable kayak,” said Wagner.
The last two summers Macie has spent as a river rafting guide with an outfitter on the Arkansas River, outside of Buena Vista. When she heard of the opportunity to intern with the BLM as a River Ranger, she knew that she was the right person for the job. The possibility of a career with the BLM is certainly an idea that Macie is entertaining. Career paths such as outdoor recreation planning, and resource management are her top picks if she gets to work with rivers and streams. BLM New Mexico’s Taos Field Office is a location she’s very much interested in working at, as she loves the town and surrounding public lands.
The Arkansas River valley is Macie’s favorite BLM area she’s visited, in her past summer job she fell in love with Brown’s Canyon National Monument and the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. In the future, Macie hopes to explore dispersed camping options on BLM lands, and the BLM administered canyonlands and red rocks of southern Utah.
Isabel Bergemann: Isabel is interning with the Colorado State Office’s engineering department as a civil engineering intern! Isabel has spent her summer navigating across Colorado to BLM sites across the state assisting with a variety of tasks from campground design and development, to maintaining water diversion structures. Everyday truly is different for Isabel; one day she’s in Cortez evaluating road conditions, the next she’s up near the Wyoming border working on a camp site design in the North Sandhills.
Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota Isabel is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at the University of Wyoming. In her free time Isabel loves to snow ski and is constantly training for the next season. She is a member of the University of Wyoming snow skiing team. Go Cowboys!
During her internship, Isabel hopes she can make a difference by improving public access and accessibility to BLM managed lands in Colorado. Once she finishes up her bachelor’s degree, Isabel hopes to apply for a full-time civil engineering job with the BLM.
One of Isabel’s fondest memories recreating on BLM lands was when her ski team went trail running at Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. This upcoming ski season, Isabel plans to make the short drive from Laramie to the Steamboat Springs area for backcountry skiing on public lands.
Emma Haldane:If you’ve ventured into BLM Colorado’s Andy Senti Public Lands Information Center in Lakewood, you may have been assisted by Emma Haldane,; our Public Room contact intern. Emma spends her days assisting the public with anything from filing mining claims, to getting veterans their America the Beautiful pass and guiding them in the right direction for great recreational opportunities.
Emma is originally from Falls Church, Virginia but decided to head west to study at Colorado State University. During her time in Fort Collins, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources along with a minor in zoology.
Once in Colorado her interest was sparked in western public lands management, and she knew she wanted to contribute to the betterment of our public lands. She didn’t really know much about the BLM until she attended college in Fort Collins. After learning about the BLM in some of her college courses, Emma thought an internship with the agency would be a great opportunity for her.
Emma’s future plans include applying for jobs in recreation or environmental planning with the BLM. Throughout the course of her internship, she’s been sure to network with BLM employees and learn more about their jobs, and the possible career opportunities available for her.
Last summer Emma worked for a non-profit in central Idaho, in her free time she was able to explore the vast stretches of BLM land East of Stanley, Idaho. “Partaking in dispersed camping while watching the sunset over the Sawtooth range was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Emma. Emma hopes to travel down to Florida to visit BLM’s Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area.
James Peake: James mostly spends his days in McInnis Canyons and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas working on vegetation monitoring with BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office weeds crew and natural resources staff. As a Natural Resource Specialist intern, James gets to experience a variety of work from conducting rare plant surveys to assisting the GIS staff with mapping.
James was born and raised in Colorado Springs. He attended Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction where he earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental science with a focus on restoration ecology, as well as a minor in chemistry. With a bachelor’s degree in hand, James wants to head up to Canada and work towards a graduate degree in soil sciences from the University of British Columbia.
“My hope is that my efforts working on our NCA’s this summer leave a lasting impact on the landscape, for future visitors enjoyment, and landscape health,’ said James.
When he gets a little free time, James enjoys the challenge of taking his inflatable stand-up paddleboard on the rapids of the Colorado River. In the future James hopes to visit the BLM lands of coastal Oregon, as he is very interested in wetlands ecology.
Trent Kelly: Trent is a GIS intern with the Colorado State Office in Lakewood. Trent spends his time sorting through various data sets, analyzing metadata to create useful maps on platforms such as ArcGIS.
Born and raised in Castle Rock, Colorado, Trent developed a love for Colorado’s public lands early on while hiking and exploring National Forests and BLM lands with his family. Trent earned a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management at Colorado State University. To compliment his bachelor’s degree, Trent wants to continue his education by enrolling in a GIS graduate program.
Trent loves working in GIS platforms and considered this his chance to make a difference in data collection and mapping for the BLM in Colorado. He hopes to soak in as much knowledge as he can from seasoned BLM GIS employees and gain experience working in GIS. Upon completion of his internship, Trent would like to work for the BLM. During a previous internship with the BLM, he worked as an AIM technician and was able to explore BLM lands on the western slope.
“Thanks to the BLM I’ve been able to see places, meet people, and experience things I probably would’ve never had the opportunity to, if it weren’t for this great agency,” said Trent. He would like to explore all the BLM field and district offices in Colorado in the future.
Jayden Skelly: Jayden is interning with the Colorado State Office as a GIS intern. Jayden spends his time assisting the GIS team with projects around the state relating to spatial data such as cartography, analysis, and data management.
Hailing from Western Massachusetts, Jayden earned degrees in environmental biology, and GIS at Western Colorado University. During undergraduate, Jayden interned at the BLM Gunnison Field Office, where he assisted GIS staff with projects in the region.
“After working in GIS at a local level, I figured it’d be a great educational opportunity to get to learn about GIS work at the state office level,” he said.
During Jayden’s internship, he hopes to expand his knowledge on GIS and geospatial analysis to prepare him for a career with the BLM. Upon completion of his internship, Jayden would like to pursue a career as a geospatial ecologist with the BLM.
Jayden would love to do a multi-day float trip on the Gunnison River, camping out in the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area. In his free time, Jayden enjoys meeting up with college buddies and mountain biking and camping out at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area.