2023 Summer Intern Spotlight

Get to Know Our Water Quality Interns

Meet Jenna & Theus

We have two amazing interns this summer, Jenna Boivin, and Theus Richards. They are testing the water quality to keep you safe and informed via the Swim Guide app. Jenna and Theus share their summer highlights and hopes for their futures.  

Jenna Boivin (she/her)

Meet Jenna, our Education and Outreach Intern based in Hood River. She attends college at Westfield State University in Massachusetts and studies environmental science with a special interest in water resources and management. Jenna has been a bright addition to our team and a part of creating and implementing engaging educational activities for youth at Nichols Natural Area. She has also led water quality monitoring for Swim Guide in Hood River.

Jenna is standing in front of green trees, twisted to her side, looking over her left shoulder smiling.
Jenna Boivin

What do you love about the Columbia River?

I love the joy the river brings to people. The river brings not just individual joy, but joy within the community. People from different places and backgrounds are brought together and celebrated because of the Columbia River. The Columbia provides water, food, jobs, a beautiful place to live, and a playground for everyone without asking anything in return. That’s love!


What has been the highlight of your summer?

The highlight of my summer has been this job opportunity with Columbia Riverkeeper. I’ve met so many amazing, inspirational people, learned so much from not just my colleagues but the kids I’ve had the privilege of teaching, and I feel like so many new doors have opened from this experience. I also love being able to ride my bike to the Event Site everyday after work, and kite surf until dusk. Then wake up the next day and do it all again!

Photo of Jenna handing a water quality sample to a child who has their back turned from the camera. They are standing on rocks along the river from and there are trees in the background. You can see the edge of the water peeking from behind Jenna.
Jenna Boivin teaching at Nichols Natural Area

Is there a new lesson you have learned since being on the job that you would like to share?

I’ve learned that Environmental Science and Social Justice cannot be separated, but are always together—hand in hand. There is no Earth without communities, and there is no community without the Earth!

Anything else you would like to share with our members? 

In the future I’d love to continue on the path of educating and learning from the youth. I’d love to continue teaching kids about rivers and riparian zones, but also about permaculture and food sovereignty! To give kids from all backgrounds and communities the tools and resources they deserve to learn and thrive would be, in lack of a better word—magical.

Thanks to the Gray Family Foundation for funding Jenna's position this summer!


Theus Richards (he/him)

Meet Theus, our Water Quality Specialist Intern based in Portland, Oregon. Theus is attending college at Portland State University and Portland Community College studying environmental studies and economics with a focus in environmental planning and policy. This summer he has helped promote healthy river contact and inform the public on safe places to swim through Swim Guide. Theus has led the Portland area water quality monitoring at some of your favorite swimming spots like Rooster Rock and Broughton Beach. 

Theus Richards is smiling with trees in the background. He is a white man with a light red or blush short sleeve button up. He has a mustache and septum ring. His hair is quaffed somewhat to the right side of his face.
Theus Richards
What do you love about the Columbia River? 

The wide scope of history that informs my own sense of place! From its geologic to ecological history, to its social, political, and cultural history; I'm continually fascinated by the importance of this river as the lifeblood of our region. 

Theus, our water quality intern, holding up a water sample. He is smiling and looking at the container. There are trees in the background and cloudy skies.
Theus Richards taking a water quality sample
What has been the highlight of your summer? 

This has been a summer of reflection, both personally and professionally. A welcomed reprieve as I transition towards a new career path. 

Anything else you would like to share with our members?

On the topic of the history of the Columbia, I highly recommend the short, but powerful book, The Organic Machine by Richard White. Also, for diving deeper into the region's environmental and energy needs for the future, the Northwest Power & Conservation Council is a key group to pay attention to. 

Thanks to East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District for funding Theus's position this summer!

Learn more about our efforts to monitor and improve water quality in the Columbia River.