I've always been a quiet, introverted person that was often more seen than heard and definitely didn't take the lead on many things prior to this internship. In my short time at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge I've had to fight those fears and old comforts to adapt to the challenges presented to me. They've had me participate in a wide variety of things that pushed me out of my comfort zone, within reason, and helped me to get more comfortable with being the center of attention. In the picture you can see me helping out the IDNR during a goose banding event, was I afraid of holding a wild, flailing goose for the first time in my life? Yes. Would I do it again? Definitely. I've also had the opportunity to go to local schools and lead environmental education programs for younger crowds. I had experience working with similar age groups prior to my internship but only as an assistant, Crab Orchard allowed me the chance to go in on my own multiple times and figure out how to teach my own way. I was very nervous at first and am still a little now but it's much more manageable than before, I can push through my nerves and have a good time with my students while giving them a quality environmental-focused education.
Things aren't slowing down either in my chances to take the initiative, the staff at the visitors center have me scheduled to do quite a few programs on my own in the near future. I'm also being allowed to help shape how some new programs will work later this year and am very excited to be able to leave a lasting impact with the refuge. All in all, this past month at the refuge has been a big time of growth for me and I'm excited to see how much more I'll have grown by the end of it.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Location: Crab Orchard NWR