My windows have always faced west.

Spring 2013 is upon us and to start off a new season of interns, Chris Kangas has rolled in with his camper and an 8-year old yellow lab from Montana. Originally from Ashley, North Dakota, Chris feels the coastal weather is “tropical” and he and his dog, Kona, are enjoying the change of scenery.

A GIS intern working with Craig Cornu down at ECOS, Chris, 26, graduated with a degree in physical geography from University of Montana in 2010. He completed his certificate in GIS in 2013 and started looking for a way to apply his education to the real world.

So how did he end up on the Oregon Coast all the way from Montana?
“In every bedroom since childhood, my windows have always faced west,” Chris says.
Has this been a sign, his destiny to one day reside in the Pacific Northwest?
Admitting he has always been drawn to the coast, Chris is deciding to take advantage of his 6 weeks here and learn how to surf, enjoying being eaten alive by giant waves.
While “having a blast” with surfing, Chris is also having a lot of fun with his GIS internship. He’s learning new things and is extremely excited about the quality of datasets here at the South Slough.

“LIDAR!!” Chris exclaims. (He wanted me to put this in all caps with exclamation points, explaining that any GIS nerd would understand how awesome the technology at the estuarine research reserve is). Have no idea what we’re talking about? Google it. That’s what I did.
Having arrived here March 5 and finishing sometime in late-April, Chris hopes to one day work for the Gallatin County with GIS in Bozeman. In the meantime, he’ll also help out at our Interpretive Center, with the canoe trips, and with other various volunteer opportunities.