As the leaves on the trees turn their bright, warm colors, the weather outside begins to chill and fall begins to roll in, I’ve started reminiscing on this last summer spent in Green Laker Country.

The friends I’ve made are returning to college, vacationers are heading home and the summer is officially coming to an end.

When I first came to Green Lake in April of this year, the trees were just starting to blossom in beautiful shades of pink and it was almost warm enough to go outside without a sweater.

It feels like yesterday, but now that those same trees are shedding their leaves, I’m reminded of the long, action-packed months I spent here reporting for the Green Laker.

As I spent the next few weeks in Green Lake, and the city began flooding with people for the summer tourism season, I began to realize how special this place really is.

The first story I wrote for the Green Laker was about Freeland Film Festival and the incredible environmental activism that Freeland and End Pandemics do.

It also was the topic of one of the last stories I wrote, bringing the summer full circle.

For a small city in the middle of rural Wisconsin, Green Lake and the surrounding area also have an amazing music scene.

From the Avrom Farm Party bringing in upcoming Chicago musicians to Thrasher Opera House hosting nationally touring artists year-round, there are a lot of incredible performances for music lovers to check out in Green Lake.

I also loved learning about the Green Lake Festival of Music and the great people who run it and are able to bring renowned chamber musicians to the area.

As someone who is from a small town in rural Wisconsin, being able to report on the farming industry and the regenerative farming movement in the area was very insightful.

One of my favorite stories to cover was on the Tichora Conservancy, when Crystal Jarvis, who lived there when it was a Boy Scouts’ camp, came to visit and give us a tour of the place she grew up.

It has been fascinating learning about the history of this city and the impact it has had on the people who have lived here.

Some of my favorite reporting has come out of the stories I’ve covered for the Green Laker.

I’d like to give a big thank you to the Green Lake community for welcoming me into your lives and inviting me into your homes for the last five months.

It has been a beautiful, wild time meeting renowned environmental activists, accomplished artists, nationally touring musicians and some of the kindest humans around.

Thank you for all the kind words and warmest goodbyes these last weeks. Now, I’m off to my next reporting job in the Twin Cities area where I’ll be a news reporter for the city of Hastings.

I’ve learned a tremendous amount about community reporting from working for the Green Laker over the summer that will greatly help me start my first full-time reporting job since graduating college in June.

I’m immensely excited to start my new job, but I’ll also greatly miss the people and friends I’ve made through the Green Laker — I wish you all the best.

Editor’s note: Thank you Sophia for the time and dedication that you put in this summer and always being willing to jump on a story if we needed help. You have a bright future ahead of you and we wish you the best of luck in Hastings, Minn.

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