From the Golden Gate to Trout Lake: Meet Christina, Our New Summer #SciComm Intern

by Christina Weatherford – I’ll admit, I was hesitant to accept the offer of being the communications intern on station this summer. It was daunting, flying from San Francisco to a tiny airport in northern Wisconsin – heading to a place I’d never been before with people I’d never met. Leaving behind all my friends and other opportunities. 

However, I had an inkling of what this summer could hold, so I made the choice to put most of my life in storage and dive into the unknown. That decision may yet be one of the best of my life.

So, about me. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and grew up catching lizards, watching nature documentaries, drawing animals, and riding horses. When it came time to go to college I headed out to the west coast to attend the University of San Francisco, where I am currently a Biology major with an emphasis in Ecology, and a couple minors on the side. 

Over the pandemic I went back to Oklahoma, working for a year in wildlife rehabilitation and keeping three crayfish tanks. Due to my school’s location I’ve mainly dealt with marine work (specifically marine mammals) so I’m very excited to dive into freshwater science here on station! My background includes a smattering of fieldwork, a good bit of art, and years of communications work. I never meant to go into communications – if you ever meet me in person I’m not the most charismatic – but I do believe that people won’t protect or appreciate what they don’t understand, so over the years I’ve taken on roles like this in the hopes that perhaps I can show people without experience in the lab or field how incredible our natural world is. 

The first amphibian Christina found in the Northwoods was a blue spotted salamander on Station. Photo by Chastin Harlow

I have discovered I have the best job on station. Is it bragging if it’s true? I get to work with all the amazing researchers in the field (but no data analysis!), I get to follow along and occasionally draw with the exceptionally talented artists in the Drawing Water program (but no pressure to assemble a portfolio!), and then I get to share their incredible work with all of you. 

The community at Trout Lake Station is outstanding, and I jokingly refer to it as “summer camp for scientists”. We all work hard during the weekdays, but there’s plenty of time to enjoy all the Northwoods has to offer – my favorites so far are kayaking, hiking, illustrating all the neat species I’ve never seen before, and returning to my roots by going herping (catching amphibians and reptiles). 

The Northwoods of Wisconsin are beautiful, and even though I only arrived in Wisconsin for the first time ever a few short weeks ago, I’m already smitten with them. The abundance of wildlife, the sunsets, the people, they’re all fantastic and I feel so privileged to have been given the chance to spend my summer here. If only I had known how amazing this place was I would have never been torn over whether to accept this position, and I’m so happy I chose to fly cross-country and start a whole new adventure with a bunch of strangers who I’m now happy to call my friends. 

This summer, I’ll write blogs like previous interns to show off the amazing work these scientists are doing, but I’ll also be incorporating some new things as well. Give the Center for Limnology a follow on Instagram or TikTok (@wisclimnology) if you want to see some videos that show the research firsthand! I’ll also be incorporating art into my work, but that’s a surprise for a later blog. I’m looking forward to giving this position my all this summer and seeing what I can do to help Trout Lake Station reach a wider audience than ever before. This little gem of a research station in the Northwoods deserves to be known and appreciated, and I’ll do my best to help.


Cover Photo: Tide pooling is one of Christina’s favorite activities in California, this was taken at the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve and she’s holding a Kelp Crab.