Central Washington University - Spring/Summer 2001

                                 Newsletter for Keeping Interns in Compliance with Contract Demands
                             Editor and Co-Op Advisor, Nancy B. Hultquist, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7420

It's been another very busy year for all of us.  This summer we had a smaller group than in previous years, with students taking from 1 to 12 credits of Co-Op Education experience (Geog. 490).  This year's team included the following, listed alphabetically by last name.   I have included two interns from spring quarter as well.

This web newsletter is evolving as I gain more material from the interns.


Kathryn Buchholz

Wenatchee National Forest

Naches, WA

Hilary Cox
Kittitas County 
Conservation District

Ellensburg, WA

Nick Gavin
Department of 
Natural Resources

Ellensburg, WA

Karen Hodges
Kittitas County 
Conservation District

Ellensburg, WA

Dale Purcell
Bellevue Department 
of Transportation

Bellevue, WA

Sage Uebelacker
Department of Ecology 
Air Quality Section

Yakima, WA

Aiko Watanabe
Kittitas County
Conservation District

Ellensburg, WA


Graham Simon

Kittitas County Conservation District

Ellensburg, WA

Jill Woolcock

Kittitas County Conservation District 

Ellensburg, WA

Summer Quarter grades are due August 20,  2001 so some of you may have received an Incomplete.  You are supposedly safe with Financial Aid as long as you complete your journal reports and file a Final Project Evaluation Report of your summer internship experience with me in time for me to turn in a change of grade no later than mid September.  Please get your final project report in as well as your daily journal reports so I can change the grade, or there is no guarantee financial aid will honor your request.  To be eligible for financial aid, you must have completed 6 hours of work during the summer, if you were enrolled.

You can read your nice little booklet Career Development Services provided for you, which suggests you follow the back of your contract form, plus some other information about the experience.   If you don't have the hard copy, then follow to Student and to Student Workbook for a nice digital version.   Address each of the points in the Learning Objectives and Learning Activities.  Evaluate which were completed, how successfully, and comment on any not done and why.  It is likely you have done much more than you anticipated at the outset.   Write an interesting evaluation of your job experience, following the guidelines of the web Student Workbook.  Please type and email it to me.  I am including the summary of the job experience ones I have for your interest in hearing what your colleagues did this summer and spring.  You can also look at the year 2000 reports by following the link, which will also link you to another place on the web at Hanford, for Community College of my students last year was taking CWU credits, but in that program:  CC-LINK.

                                    Check out the web page  for more information.

      housed 3 interns this summer !!  and 4 this spring (although only two worked with me as advisor & are reported here)

The main GIS supervisor for all intern GIS work is Nicole McCoy.  Nicole has been a virtual adjunct professor (unpaid) of CWU for several years by providing excellent hands-on learning with her superb supervision and GIS guidance for many years.  Many interns from the past owe their ArcView knowledge to the experience gained by becoming involved in GIS projects with the district.  Last year Nicole obtained ArcInfo 8, and many of the interns have been exposed to that software as well.  Nicole provides a service to the entire state to all personnel at all conservation districts by offering training courses, for which she has written two excellent manuals (Basic and Advanced GIS).  Most of the interns have the opportunity to assist in one or more of these training sessions during their stint at the district.   We should note that Nicole McCoy is a graduate of CWU, Geography and she loves to be able to help train students from her old department.

Before going  further in the introduction of student interns, let's break for an announcement:

CONGRATULATIONS  to NICOLE McCOY, GIS Manager, Kittitas County Conservation District for her award:
                                          SUPERVISOR OF THE QUARTER -  SPRING QUARTER 2001
This nomination was made by a number of her past and present interns, members of the staff at the district and the NRCS, faculty advisors who have worked with her, and GIS workers in the County.  We surprised her with the award at the end-of- summer barbecue in honor of  Earth Team Interns this August 16, 2001.  Sadly, many of the people making the nomination could not join us, but the reason is good, as they are away working in their new jobs!  Mike Neer from the County was there!
And many former interns were there in spirit!

   Nicole receiving  --   Noella Wyatt (Career Development Services) presenting  -- Hubby Bret & Nicole admiring

Three interns this summer receiving Earth Team Award for Service, and a hat and sweatshirt, are:
(in absentia, Aiko Watanabe, who is visiting family in Japan)

                    Hilary Cox                                 Karen Hodges                        Aiko Watanabe, showing her route project

And this was the BBQ spread; you cannot easily see the Huckleberry Pie that Allen Aronica's daughter, June, baked for us, nor the great chocolate cake John Hultquist offered to the occasion.  He is part of the  Earth Team too, having put in some volunteer hours with the spring Roy Bach Memorial Conservation Plant Sale.  The model on the end is Karen Hodges, displaying the Earth Team Hat.  Check out the web page  for more information.  We wish to thank the staff at the District for providing the "work" for the student interns:   Anna Lael - District Manager and Jill Gallie - Administrative Assistant who are instrumental in all the field work; and of course, Nicole McCoy - GIS Specialist.  Also, the NRCS folks:  David Chain (District Conservationist) and Allen Aronica, Soils Conservationist Technician, who also involve the interns in field work.   We thank you all so much!

   INTERNS FOR THIS YEAR 2001--Descriptions of Experience in their own words
The next five interns all had the same job description (at the KCCD), but their duties varied as you will see by selected items from their journals and also in their forthcoming final project reports.
    Learning Objectives included:  Practical applications of software management in agriculture, map production for landowners, assisting in management of GIS data, editing crop database, and data collection in the field, such as water quality sampling and monitoring. Learning Activities included:  Using the GIS applications of the Conservation District, using the Trimble GPS, and using flow meters, ph kits.

Hilary Cox,  Kittitas County Conservation District, Ellensburg, WA

Aiko Watanabe,  Kittitas County Conservation District,  Ellensburg, WA

Karen Hodges,  Kittitas County Conservation District, Ellensburg, WA

Graham Simon,  Kittitas County Conservation District, Ellensburg, WA -- [Spring Qtr.,  2001]

Jill Woolcock,  Kittitas County Conservation District, Ellensburg, WA -- [Spring Qtr.,  2001]

Kathryn Buchholz, Wenatchee National Forest, Naches, WA
Kathryn's Learning Objectives were to use GIS (ArcView), GPS, species identification of trees, shrubs, and grasses; taking weather reports to find relative humidity, temperature, wind speed and wind direction; different weather patterns related to fire hazards, different fuel types related to fire hazards; identification of natural and manmade fire barriers, and to integrate these into the GIS.  Her planned Learning Activities were to work in the Fuel Management Department at the Naches Ranger Station.  She planned to work with the tools of GIS and GPS.  She planned to integrate all this knowledge to help in fuel management to identify hazardous fire locations, and places serving as fire barriers.  She got a tremendous amount of field time monitoring and fighting wildfires this season.

Nick Gavin, Department of Natural Resources, Ellensburg, WA
Nick's Learning Objectives included:  Preparing professional presentations in fire training to new firefighters; research describing rehabilitation; learning leadership qualities and responsibilities of leading a crew; gaining additional knowledge in using and teaching mapping tools (GPS & Compass), and understanding and using radios as the main source of ground to air communication.  His planned Learning Activities included acting as a lead helicopter crew member and being current in training classes that would help him better understand the goals presented by the learning objectives.  He proposed that research would be needed for the techniques used to rehabilitate previously burned areas.  He too has been active through the summer with wildfire fighting activities, pimarily with the DNR's Helicopter Task Force.

     Nick went into many fires,  including Deer Park, Omak and Brewster.  The middle map is of the Goose Creek fire, and the map on the right is from the web, showing the advances of the St. Mary's fire (east of Omak Lake) on successive days (animated on the web)--at
Map work and clear and accurate communications are the key for these geographers in the field.

Dale Purcell, Bellevue Department of Transportation, Bellevue, WA
Dale expected to gain real world GIS experience, to understand how GIS is used in the transportation field and to become more proficient in the use of ArcInfo/ArcView software so he could  produce accurate maps.  And he expected his Learning Activities to include the same, plus updating and modifying GIS data, and to produce maps from the GIS data that have been updated and modified.  I think he would be the first to tell you that all the above is an understatement to his experience gained from the internship.

Sage Uebelacker, Department of Ecology, Yakima, WA
Expected Learning Objectives were to increase knowledge and application abilities of ArcView, but a copy of the software was not forthcoming during the internship.  She also expected to learn about the Department of Ecology's Air Quality Program, increase knowledge about MS Excel, Access, and PowerPoint, and learn about different types of air quality data.
Learning Activities were expected to include research, compiling and presenting information about air quality in Central Washington for use in planning of air quality field service delivery.  She planned to analyze air quality complaint data, emissions inventory data, ambient air quality data and other information.  And, she planned to present results in various formats including maps, charts, graphs, and written reports.

                                 R E P O R T    O N    F I E L D    S I T E    V I S I T S

As part of the Learning Agreement, as Faculty Advisor, I try to get to the sites a couple of times throughout the summer.
Sometimes, I only make it once.  Below are some of my insights into the work environment and products produced and
skills learned by this summer's crop of students.

        Kittitas County Conservation District, Ellensburg, WA (spring & summer)

Nicole McCoy,Hilary Cox,Aiko Watanabe,Karen Hodges     |||    Anna Lael, Jill Gallie, Karen, Aiko, Hilary

Allen Aronica displays  a map Karen produced to aid his work, in the middle shows a Farm Plan Hilary made for him, and on the right the interns show the GIS map making and irrigation plan and watershed maps they have been doing for Allen.

Jill caught me with the other interns and Nicole one day this summer. And then I convinced them all to pose with various pieces of field equipment they have used throughout the summer, under the guidance of Anna Lael, Jill Gallie, and also Allen Aronica.  And, then Anna Lael sent me some other pictures from spring and summer field work, which follow:

From spring, the Plant Sale Crew, bottom to top, left to right: Jill Woolcock, Nicole McCoy, Jill Gallie, Anna Lael, Chris Olson, Karen Hodges, Graham Simon, and John Hultquist.  Middle: Graham Simon & Jill Woolcock.  Right:  Graham Simon and Chris Olson on a break from field work.

This summer's field work.  Left:  Aiko Watanabe and Hilary Cox.   Middle: Anna Lael and Aiko.  Right:  Karen Hodges.

                                     City of Bellevue, Department of Transportation
Let's move to the City of Bellevue and check in with Dale Purcell.

His supervisor, Brook Durant (a former CWU student), Dale and Zorba Conlen, their on-site ArcInfo guru.   Dale at work.

Tresa Berg from Planning gives job request. (c) Dale demos the intranet database accessible as Mapster.  (right) Dale proudly stands in front of a map he produced for the City from the layers in their system.  The main project was to update layers which had been changed and to provide some insets for specific emphasis.

I'm STILL WORKING ON THIS to link to Acrobat data files of the maps below, to display the quality of the work better.
More to follow........examples of maps that Dale produced... here smaller, click for the larger image in .pdf (later)

>>>>>>>>           Downtown City of Bellevue                              Traffic Analysis Zone Map             .<<<<<<<<<<<<<

                    Naches Ranger District of the Wenatchee National Forest
And, what's Kathryn been up to in the Naches Ranger District ?  Well, with all the wildfires and her long-term training and expertise, you can see from her journal where she spent most of her summer..but, she did get to do some GIS mapping and will be taking a job there in the winter working with Glynis Bauer, the GIS Coordinate/Analyst for Wenatchee & Okanogan Forests, housed in Naches.

Brief glimpse of Jim Bishop, Fuels Manager, her supervisor and Kathryn -- and her pointing out the district's fire area designation map.  Sorry I missed getting one of her working on her GIS project.

Some of that hard work she was involved with on the ground, and in the air.  Fire pictures from National Inter-Agency Fire Center and all courtesy of the Bureeau of Land Management.  Web access noted below.

                                                                                                                                                   Line Construction

                               Air Quality Division of the Department of Ecology, Yakima

Sage Uebelacker         I forgot to take my digital camera along on my visit, sadly, so I missed getting Sage at her desk in her little cubicle. While there, however, I told her she could use the final project report she was working on as her final project with the graphics she had produced from her 6 weeks working with Access and documenting the Air Quality complaint data base since 1999.  Unfortunately, her computer gave up the ghost and she barely was able to print off one copy of the final report as she left her internship.  A picture made of her after I left,  the next week, by the DOE was never forthcoming, as her computer crashed trying to send it to me.

She was able to bring me a printed copy of her report and I took pictures of two images to share above.

She dug through the paperwork and files at the DOE for the information, put it into an Access Data Base and described the building process so the data can continue to be added to the database.  She crafted an entry program with drop-down menus to make it easy for any employee to pick up the project.  The above two examples are a couple of many graphics she produced for the data once she created the system.

                                 F I N A L    P R O J E C T     R E P O R T S


I have enjoyed working at the Naches Ranger District and learning new things.  I have had the chance to take interesting classes such as Aerial Observer and Noxious Weed Identification.  I went out with the Wenatchee-Okanogan Forest Leader Team and talked with people about their districts.  I have been able to use different programs such as the Geographic Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS).  I have learned about the different classification of fuel types and species identification.  I also had the chance to apply the knowledge I have of fire behavior and weather patterns to assist helicopter pilots in dropping bucket loads of water in the correct locations.  I also attended a few meetings, such as an Environmental Assessment meeting, that was held locally.

The classes, Aerial Observing and Noxious Weed Identifying were very interesting.  The Aerial Observer class place took place in Wenatchee and included an afternoon flight in a small plane.  The first part of the day we covered the proper techniques for using different planes and pilots.  Then I had the chance to go up in the plane to see if I could read a map and be able to locate our position while flying.  I enjoyed this part of the class very much.  The Noxious Weed Identification class took place at Naches and  covered how to identify the different local noxious weeds, the effect they have on the environment, and how to properly record the location and percentage of cover in the field.  The second part of the class took place out in the field and covered where different species are located.  I found this class to be interesting because of the different ways each species of plants should be handled to eliminate them.

In June, I went out with the Wenatchee-Okanogan Forest Leader Team.  We went to different locations on the Naches Ranger District to show examples of different recreational and management systems.  Representatives from all over Washington State came to contribute ideas of what might work better and to take new ideas and concepts back to their home districts.

I have been able to integrate information that came from GIS, more specifically ArcView, into the fieldwork that I have completed.  Using ArcView, I located different Fire Critical Areas that needed to be documented and filed for future reference.  A Fire Critical Area is any location that needs to be brought to attention if ever a fire were to come into that specific area.  I used ArcView to map the different areas, identify them, and pinpoint their exact locations.  I then went out in the field to take pictures of the area, whether it was a historical building or threatened species location.  Then I filed the pictures along with the map of the site.  I also used the GPS to find a more specific latitude and longitude of the site.

I also had to learn about different species of plants and trees.  While learning this I used references to classify areas into different fuel types.  This helps to classify an area into different fire hazards.  The references that I used consisted of a series of books containing the percentage of different plant, shrub, and tree coverage and pictures to refer to.  This was also helpful while learning how to collect fuel moisture levels with different vegetation.

Another interesting activity that I did was to be the Air/Ground contact during a fire.  I was the contact person between the helicopter pilots and the hand crews on the ground.  Using my knowledge of weather patterns and fire behavior I was able to tell the pilots where to place their bucket drops.  This was fun telling the hand crews when to come and work on the fire and when to get back onto safer ground.

I also attended two Environmental Assessment meetings on the district, and I attended a Monitored Watershed Analysis meeting.  The meetings for the Environmental Assessment were for an area that will be auctioned for a timber sale.  I enjoyed these two meetings after recently taking the Environmental Studies 444 class at Central.  The meeting for the Watershed Analysis covered different watersheds that were being monitored and carefully researched.  The majority of the meeting consisted of a questionnaire that required answers regarding topics such as recreational uses, range management, American Indian uses, and fire suppression and prevention.

Overall, I feel that I have learned a great deal in just these past few months while working with the Naches Ranger District.  I am planning on staying here all through the year, and this winter I will be working as a GIS Cartographer Technician, which I am really looking forward to.


I spent the summer working for the Bellevue Department of Transportation GIS Department under the supervision of Brook Durant and Zorba Conlen.  I had a 40 hr work week.  I went to the department knowing nothing about ArcInfo GIS and within 2 weeks Zorba had me up and running.  I have done a variety of projects at Bellevue ranging from filling data requests, filling map requests to updating city maps.

I have learned how to put an AML program together for it to run on ArcInfo GIS.  I have also learned how all three modules of ArcInfo work together.  It is also interesting to see how ArcView can be customized to be more accessible for the most commonly used shapefiles. Brook and Zorba have it set up in a way that all you have to do is select the features that are needed, zoom to the correct scale and then select the type of layout that is desired.  I also understand now how templates are used and how they make projects easier.  I have a great understanding of Adobe Illustrator and how it too can be used to make a great map and also as a means to put maps in electronic format for distribution to other people and so it can be used in other formats. The graphics people like to get maps in Illustrator format so they can adjust the things they need to for a better presentation.

A recent unexpected bit of knowledge that I gathered is just how difficult it is to get all of the different agencies to be able to use the same GIS system for their different needs.  I recently sat in on the user group discussion of what each department does and what is needed from the new Land Information System (LIS).  Each different department has a different system to handle their data format, and even though they all need the same data they need it in a different format for them to use. Surveyors use data in one format, Utilities uses data in another and Information Systems, Transportation, and Parks uses another format.  Not only do they need to get the data in a usable format the group also needs to know who will update what part of the data, when and how will everyone else get the updates in a timely manner.

Some of the projects that I worked on have dealt with Capital Improvement Project (CIP) locations, where I mapped the location of current and projected projects that need funding.  I also updated new sidewalks from aerial photos and a list provided to us from another department.  Brook created an AML that makes this job a whole lot easier.  The city has an Intranet website that the transportation department uses to look up different types of information ranging from street locations, to traffic counts, or traffic area zones (TAZs) and traffic management tools in use at various locations.  My part of this project was to assign image numbers for the computer to locate the correct picture and display the requested image.  One of the biggest projects that I did was to update the city wide locator map that shows where all of the city owned property is located and what agency is responsible for the facility.

Another part of the job is to fill data requests for various customers.  I took several coverages and converted them to .dxf files to be used in an AutoCAD system.  Another type of data request is for aerial photos over certain areas.

I produced maps that ended up in the city council packages for council meetings, I made one that will be used in a public announcement for the opening of a city art project, but most of them are used for illustrative purposes in meetings and discussion groups as well as for documentation.  A map showing the transit areas ended up going to the Redmond transportation office to be used as a reference for them.

Because of the broad requests for data and maps that I completed I am able to get a feel of how complex transportation issues are and what are some of the issues that they deal with in the department.


During Spring Quarter 2001 I worked at the Kittitas County Conservation District under the supervision of Nicole McCoy.  Nicole McCoy is the GIS specialist for the district and a great person to work for.  I also had the opportunity to work with Anna Lael who is the head of field research for the district.  The experience and friends I gained here cannot be replaced.  I worked a minimum of 8 hours a week.

I came to the district to get a better handle on using GIS outside the classroom.  When I first arrived I thought that my duties would include only GIS.  I soon began working in the field with Anna and Jill which made a valuable experience on how collecting data in the field is just as important as working with it in a GIS.

The fieldwork consisted of using GPS, flow meters and soil monitoring devices to do a variety of field tasks, which were later applied to GIS applications.  The first project I worked on was mapping all the irrigation boxes and gates along the Westside Irrigation Canal from the gauging station in Thorp down into the lower part of the county.  After the data were collected with GPS I learned to use pathfinder office software to download the points and turn them into shapefiles.  These files were then added to the existing GIS database.  I also worked with Anna on monitoring Manastash Creek at five different sites above and below KRD diversion to see how the diversions effected the velocity of the creek.  This was an interesting project.  I got a chance to see how agricultural practices affected the amount of water that flowed through the creek during each week.  We monitored these five sites for five weeks.  I also got to install soil-monitoring devices throughout the Badger Pocket area.  By installing these monitoring devices and checking them often I learned techniques on conservation, which is what KCCD is all about.  The last field project I worked on was to help Anna use GPS to map the path of the Thorp Mill ditch.  We used GPS and GIS to produce an accurate map of the path the Thorp Mill ditch takes on its way to the Yakima River.

All the fieldwork produced plenty of data to use within the GIS.  Besides mapping all the GPS field collected data I learned how to produce farm plan maps of specific tracts of crops for local farmers.  Soil maps were also a task I learned how to complete.  The overall experience I got at the KCCD will help me perform better as I enter the workforce.  I also enjoyed being able to travel throughout different parts of the county that I never had seen.  I could keep writing for days on the experience I got from my internship, but I will finish by saying thanks to the Kittitas County Conservation District for the priceless information and skills they provided for me.


This quarter, I worked as a GIS Intern at the Kittitas County Conservation District.  I worked 80 hours, earning two credits.  I worked closely with Nicole McCoy, senior GIS Technician for the District.  Nicole was a kind and generous internship mentor and continually worked to create new opportunities for interns to expand GIS skills.  The environment was professional, fun, and laid-back.

The quarter began with the Roy Bach Memorial Conservation Plant Sale.  I helped process the conservation grade seedlings (such as honeysuckle, choke cherry, and Douglas fir), by sorting the seedlings into bundles of five, filling orders, and generally cleaning up the truck trailer workspace, along with everyone else.

I worked on a couple of projects for Nicole.  For one, I helped her organize the responses received to her “GIS Survey for Conservation Districts and State Associations.”  Another time, I helped her present her GIS Training program.  I had the privilege of working as her assistant during this spring’s beginning ArcView class.  I liked seeing GIS in action, and it was pleasing to help explain the practicality of GIS in other conservation districts.

I was also able to work on a project that the interns this quarter focused on:  The mapping of the gates and pumps and such on the Westside Irrigation Company Ditch.  I assisted with the GPS point collection, edited the tract map in ArcView, and helped to label the various fields with related gates.

I learned how to create farm plan maps, soil maps, and contour maps.  I was able to create some of these on my own, filling farmers’ requests.  I learned about the KCCD and NRCS standards for data accuracy, and more about layouts, including tricks to keeping everything the same, layout-to-layout.

I think the most valuable GIS skill I learned this quarter is theme editing.  Nicole, a very patient person, carefully (and repeatedly) showed me how to edit polygons, split them, combine them, snap-to and otherwise tweak them.  It was satisfying to correct a farm tract layer (when comparing it to an air photo), and to know that I was improving the KCCD database.

Something interesting and unexpected that I had the opportunity to do was wade in the Manastash Irrigation Diversion, assisting with the engineering surveillance of said waterway.  I now understand how those yellow tripods work that road surveyors use.  It served as a relevant contrast to GPS point collection.

As an intern, I naturally did a little bit of filler (non-GIS) work.  Examples include errands to the bank and to local businesses.  I also stuffed some envelopes, made photocopies, and typed a few documents.  We also took some time to organize the GIS section of the Conservation District’s office.

I also attended ESRI’s ArcGIS Roll-Out seminar in Boise, ID, as sort of an extension to my internship. That conference was fantastic and helped to show actual, immediate applications of the new ArcGIS.  I shared that knowledge with Nicole, and she shared her ArcGIS knowledge with me.  It was interesting to discuss the future of GIS, and I like very much that I have practical experience with real-world situations.  This internship was situated ideally in my undergraduate “career,” as it enabled me to put into use the skills, lessons I learned in GIS courses this year.

Fire pictures from National Inter-Agency Fire Center, and other fire photos without captions are courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management, as well.  A great site is

Revised by NBH - 8-30-01     comments to