Expanding My Horizons Expanding My Horizons
16 April 2024

Expanding My Horizons

Now just under five months into my internship and reflecting on my experience so far, I feel an immense gratitude for the opportunities given to me at the Savannah Refuges Complex. This complex is made up of seven refuges, five of which are open to the public and closely managed. Even with having been here as long as I have, there is a lot to learn about the inner workings of managing all of these refuges, the wildlife that lives here, and what defines them compared to other refuges. Each refuge in our complex is ever so slightly different, with their own rich histories and ecosystems, and it has been exciting to be exposed to such different places and meeting the incredible experts that are my supervisors.

More and more, I have been working to expand my network and outreach efforts to different parts of our community. My work has mainly been focused in the counties surrounding Savannah, Georgia and just off of Hilton Head Island where Pinckney Island is located. This has included organizing community events within the city of Hardeeville, to bringing out local school groups and Girl Scout troops to the refuge to learn about topics spanning from tree ID to plastic pollution and sea turtle necropsies. Most recently, I was in charge of leading a school group out on Pinckney Island to conduct a beach trash cleanup, and the teachers plan on having them come out again repeatedly to take up other project opportunities on the refuge.

Just last week, I also had the amazing opportunity to attend a 3-day conference that brought together all manner of Parks & Recreation professionals from throughout South Carolina, where I hoped to gain knowledge about how we at the Savannah Refuge can improve our programming and obtaining contacts to people that do similar work to us. I plan to reach out to some of these professionals in the hope of learning what sorts of outreach work they currently do and how we might take inspiration from them.

A lesson I've learned throughout this internship is that it is no easy task to build new partnerships with outside organizations. It takes time, and not every potential partner will be as keen to collaborate as the next. Learning how to tell which baskets you should put your eggs in has been a valuable gain from this internship. Still, I'm continuing to work towards leaving a lasting impact on my refuge's outreach efforts and taking in as much knowledge as I can from my mentors and partners.

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

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