As I approach the halfway point of the DFP internship, I really feel that I have gained a tremendous amount of skills already. Each week offers a new set of unique challenges and insight on issues that I had heard about but never been fully exposed to. I am starting to get a grasp of what it takes to be a professional in Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) and I believe that this is an agency that I would want to start my career in conservation with. One thing I’ve learned so far is that surveying bumble bee habitat can be exhausting, full of obstacles, and requires quick problem solving. However, I have been treating each challenge as an opportunity to grow and demonstrate what I would be able to contribute as a FWS employee.
The major heat wave that has hit the Pacific Northwest has been an obstacle for the entire bumble bee research team. The high temperatures (>100℉) severely impact our surveying in Oregon because, as temperatures rise, flowers begin to dry up quickly and, as result, bumble bees are not as abundant. We’ve attempted to deal with this problem by surveying in higher elevations, where temperatures stay a bit cooler, because suitable habitat for bumble bees is more likely to be prevalent in these locations. This has required more strenuous hikes for the team and a bit of creativity on how to keep ice from melting (the ice is needed so we can briefly knock out the bees in order to take detailed photos), however, I feel that taking this initiative has led to us getting more accurate data. Additionally, nearby wildfires have started to surround Southern Oregon with smoke. While this issue has not yet prevented us from going out in the field, it is a concern that is being closely monitored by my supervisors. These are just a few instances of problems that I have come across and they have demonstrated to me that, in this line of work, many issues will arise that require replanning and willpower to keep pushing forward.
Overall, teamwork is truly what keeps our project moving. Everyone on the team seems to play their part in contributing bright ideas and taking an extra step to meet goals. The value of teamwork really sticks out to me in the working world because, when in school, some project partners tend to not be as active as others. However, at FWS, everyone seems to be equally excited about contributing to the project and no one ever seems to be getting by on others' work. Also, the colleague support seems to be strong in the FWS, and that is another element that I appreciate about this agency. I am excited to see what else I will be exposed to in the second half of my program and cannot wait for what is to come!
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP
Location: Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office