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Sarena Selbo (left), Oscar Hernandez (middle), Deb Loon (right) present the "Mentoring the Next Generation of Conservation Professionals" proposal to the Minnesota State Legislature overseeing the LCCMR fund. Sarena Selbo (left), Oscar Hernandez (middle), Deb Loon (right) present the "Mentoring the Next Generation of Conservation Professionals" proposal to the Minnesota State Legislature overseeing the LCCMR fund. Minnesota's State Representative, Rick Hanson.
24 July 2019

Mentoring the Next Generation of Conservation Professionals



Category: Blog

The internship at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge has been going really well the past few months and I’ve really started to take on more responsibility and leadership throughout my summer.

During the past few months, we have been doing a series of free fishing pop-up events in the Twin Cities metro area, visiting local parks and lakes and teaching residents how to fish. We have connected with tons of families from all backgrounds at the lake and many of them got use a resource they’ve always had in a brand new way. We eliminated the barrier of requiring fishing licenses by getting permit waivers for the events. Transportation limits many, so one of the ways we overcame this was by reaching out to the public, instead of making the public come to us. Not everyone has all the equipment necessary to fish; we took care of that problem by providing all the necessities.

Through these fishing pop-up events, we’ve been able to connect a lot of people with nature and we’ve been catching lots of fish doing it! This was the first year of fishing pop-up events and with the knowledge we gained this summer, we aim to have an even better program next year. Something as small as catching a sunfish can create a lasting impact, one that promotes conservation and wellbeing of the environment.

This past June, I had the opportunity to head to St. Paul with my Refuge Manager, Sarena Selbo and Executive Director of Minnesota Valley’s Trust, Deb Loon. While in St. Paul, I got to present in front of multiple senators and state representatives of the Minnesota Legislature, which was beyond exciting. I shared my experiences during my time at the refuge and how the internship opportunities I’ve had have impacted me.

This presentation was part of a grant proposal for the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) fund, which is funded through the Minnesota Lottery for environmental causes. If Minnesota Valley gets approved for their grant, They will be able to provide multiple long term, well paying internships for the next 5 years. It was such and fun and unique experience getting to spoke in front of lawmakers and hopefully with my efforts, I will be able to help enact change that will positively impact others that are in my position too.



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