Hi! My name is Deliannie and I’m spending my summer working at the Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership in Providence, Rhode Island.
So far, it’s been one crazy, fun-filled summer. If you had to ask me my favorite part, I don’t think I could honestly tell you. Every week brings brand new experiences: from placing rotting chicken in mason jars in the ground, to trap carrion beetles, to seining at a salt pond, or even goose banding. But, looking back at my experiences so far, I think the best take away from this experience is the exposure I have to the different ways that education plays a role in promoting conservation.
I’m entering my senior year of college for a degree in Secondary Education General Science and Biology. In other words, high school Biology. I know, I also wish myself good luck. For the longest time, my degree and future career was always very muddled. I wanted to do something with Biology, but the medical field wasn’t for me. I’ve always loved sharing with others what I’ve come to learn and to be honest, I was a decent tutor. So, being a teacher was the second thing to pop into mind and for the longest time, that was all I had to look forward to. Until this internship.
I realized that education extends beyond a typical classroom. There are educators, like my supervisor April, who play a very active role in conservation and to me, that was mind blowing. Yet, here I am, a senior in college of Guatemalan decent sharing pictures on social media doing all sorts of cool things. I got to witness kid’s faces light up as they hold moon jellies and crabs or realizing that sassafras smells like fruit loops. I see kids from urban Providence hold daddy long legs and ants in the palm of their hands without the fear that they’ll harm them. I see myself reflected in them. I hear teachers tell their kids, “Hispanic Access. See, you can do things. Be someone”. I was helping to slowly break that fear and anxiety kids had towards nature.
One experience I remember vividly is that of a fifth-grade boy who was terrified of the idea of ticks. His socks were too short to be pulled up, yet he managed to stuff his pants into his shoes. Every bug we encountered was a tick to him. Yet, he extended his hands eagerly towards me after I explained that the small crab they had found would not hurt him. I saw the anxiety fade from his face and I realized that he would no longer fear tiny crabs on the beach (maybe ticks… but me too).
As I reflect on my summer so far, I only wonder what the rest of it has in store. I have so much yet to learn from everyone I’ve come to meet and I’m excited that my idea of what it means to be an educator is slowly changing.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service
Location: Providence Parks Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership