I am almost reaching my halfway point as an outreach intern at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay NWR and I wanted to take the time to give a recap of my experience so far!
If you would’ve told me that I would be working as an intern for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I would laugh! Not because I don’t think I am capable, but more so never really knowing much about the agency. I was geared more towards the National Park Service and even state and city parks, but never for the USFWS. I had to do some background research on the agency and assumed that it was more science orientated than visitor services.
Upon my onboarding, I tackled as much information I can about the agency and to my surprise, there was a visitor services department. I was very impressed that one of their missions at the refuge was to enhance more visitor engagement and environmental education interpretation and that is where I come on. My main objective is an environmental educator and provide resources to communities on how to access their public lands. I developed a program for endangered species at our Refuge and will present the work to local libraries. It was a fun project that I am lucky I got tasked and I look forward to developing future environmental education programs. I also think it is important to highlight the USFWS for their continuation of protecting, conserving and enhancing wildlife. I often feel like we are not publicly known like the National Park Service is, but these small efforts will make a great tool for spreading awareness of the agency and our mission.
I don’t have enough wonderful things to say about my experiences so far. It has helped my professional growth and improved my confidence and even sparked a fire in me to serve the underserve communities. Alongside the help of my mentor, I got exposed to field surveys of migratory birds and endangered species, storytelling, outreach planning, social media content, networking, audience centered experience training, tribal relations, science communications, and natural resource management. These are skills and techniques that I will carry with me after the internship. And for that I will be eternally grateful for this opportunity. I am looking forward to the next following months as I get to learn more and apply these skills.