I have officially ended my 11-week summer internship at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Eastern States Office and have started my 10-week extension. I have learned so much during this time period that I am confident will be very useful to me in my career and in my last year of graduate school. I enjoyed spending my summer here at the BLM and I look forward to extending into the fall!
Recently, I gave my final presentation in partial fulfilment of the Direct Hire Authority (DHA) requirements to a room of nearly 30 people. The audience included various members of the Eastern States leadership team, including the Eastern States State Director. During this presentation, I highlighted my experience as a Natural Resources Specialist Intern and discussed the challenges I faced. As mentioned in my first blog post, a significant challenge for me was navigating the verbal-distant and written communication styles with my direct supervisor-- since she was out of the office for the majority of my internship.
However, I quickly learned that this skill is essential in the federal service and saw this experience as an opportunity to develop professionally in this regard. In order for the Bureau of Land Management to function as a cohesive agency, communication among the various district and state offices around the nation is critical. This means that stakeholders from these offices are often unable to physically meet, which requires them to communicate at a distance. The key to developing this skill is to ask the right set of questions with the objective of obtaining the answers needed to move forward with the task at hand.
I also had the opportunity to, on two occasions, head out to Meadowood Recreation Area (which is managed by the BLM) in Lorton, Virginia. At the site, I participated in a trail maintenance project that involved cutting back tree branches and shrubbery that were encroaching the trails. This was a great experience and a nice break away from the office. I found it valuable to actually be on the federally owned lands that this agency manages. I had the chance to walk the trails, remove fallen trees, clear shrubs and branches, see the horses that live there, and ride around in a neat gator! P.S. be very cautious of poison ivy when working in the field!
The Pelican Island story map that I created earlier in my internship has made its way to the final review needed before publication by the National Operation Center (NOC). Upon approval, my work will be published and viewable to the public. The publication of the story map will coincide with the publication of the notice in the Federal Register regarding the approval of the term extension of the public land order that extends the boundaries of the island and helps mitigate the effects of erosion.
During my extension, I will continue working on my summer project. Next month, the Planning and Environmental Specialist that is on detail will be back and I look forward to working with her. I am grateful for this opportunity to extend at half-time, so I can still be a full-time graduate student.