Welcome to my third and last blog post!
These past 11 weeks have gone by so fast! I have successfully written the first draft rapid species status assessments for both the Mojave poppy bee (MPB) and Las Vegas bear poppy (LVBP) and presented these assessments to our academic, state, and private organization partners. My time as an At-Risk Species Strategy Intern has been both a challenging and wonderful experience.
Since my first blog post, I have learned so much more about both of my project’s species, and what it is like to work for the Fish & Wildlife Service. However, perhaps the most important take away from this whole experience was learning how vital collaboration is within the field of environmental science.
Like I mentioned in my last blog post, I helped the Sacramento CA At-Risk Species Team present the draft rapid species status assessments that I wrote for the MPB and LVBP over two four-hour-long meetings. What was so cool about these documents is that they basically served as a catalyst for bringing people together. Academics along with state and federal land managers and decision-makers from California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah attended both meetings to discuss what is known, what is unknown, and what we all could do to prevent the endangered species listing of both the MPB and LVBP. What we learned from these meetings is that there is still a lot that is unknown about these two species. Although the lack of information might seem like a setback, by collaborating with our partners, we were able to identify some high priority research questions and the next steps that are needed for the conservation of both species.
Being a part of this project has shown me how vital collaboration is to accomplish successful conservation. This past semester, I took a natural resources class that covered how collaboration is still lacking within the environmental sciences. Now that I have gotten to experience what it is like to gather people from different state, federal, and academic organizations into one room (video call), I now see how this field can be collaboration deficient. It takes a lot of effort and determination to find people within different organizations that might show interest in your project, with each of them varying in what they can govern. Land that is managed by the federal government has different regulations than what is managed by the state, and university academics who do the majority of the research behind what is scientifically known, are a lot more independent, however, they are smaller staffed and can be hard to contact. Collaboration between all organizations is important because a lot of the time a species’ range does not only occur within one agency’s jurisdiction. The range of a species frequently spans areas managed by multiple organizations or even across country borders. Without collaboration like we had during our assessment meetings, important details about the MPB or LVBP would not have been shared, consensus about what resources or habitat needs that are vital for the species’ survival would not have occurred, and conservation efforts could have ended up being counterproductive.
Although I am sad that this internship has come to an end, I am excited to use the new skills that I have gained and share the lessons that I have learned about collaboration with my peers. This internship has given me more confidence in myself and has shown me how capable I am. I am so thankful that the Hispanic Access Foundation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service chose me to participate in this great opportunity. I have enjoyed my time as a FWS intern and will never forget this experience or the people I have met along the way. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me during this internship, and thanks for reading my blog posts. Writing is not my strong suit as probably most of you could tell, but hopefully, you all have enjoyed reading about my experience as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you.
Until we meet again! Remember to stay safe and bee kind!
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP
Location: Sacramento Regional Office