Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWRC:Employees Address NHEC California Minority Youth Environmental Training Institute
California-Nevada Offices , June 25, 2009
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by Lisa Cox, Student Wildlife Biologist

From June 25-30, the National Hispanic Environmental Council (NHEC) and the National Park Service (NPS) hosted 33 junior and senior high school students in Ventura County for the California Minority Youth Environmental Training Institute.  The event consisted of field trips to local parks and presentations on environmental careers.  The students came from both Los Angeles and Ventura counties to learn about careers in conservation and stayed overnight in the Cal State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) dorms.  The carefully selected students—who were competitively placed in the program—were all funded by scholarships from NPS.  The last day of the event ended at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex with a lecture on careers in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 


SCEP Wildlife Biologist Lisa Cox, STEP Office Automation Clerk Ivett Plascencia, and Wildlife Biological Science Technician Devon Lang went through what it means to be a part of USFWS and a Department of the Interior employee.  They introduced agencies within the Department to compare fields of work and explained the different programs within the USFWS. The primary focus of the presentation was the SCEP/STEP program, and what it takes to become a wildlife biologist.  Questions and discussion were encouraged as each employee went through their career stories.  The students were taught the importance of volunteerism and contacting their neighborhood USFWS offices.  The STEP program was emphasized the most, but students also showed a great interest in internships.


Following the presentation, Hopper Mountain refuge employees were able to take a group of students outside in the grassy south quad area at CSUCI, where a few enthusiastic students practiced telemetry with one of the recently dropped and retrieved tail transmitters from a breeding male condor. The students also got to look at typical equipment that biologists use in the field.  Afterwards, the students were required to create final presentations based on field test results, biological assessments, and observations.  Certificates were given out with photo opportunities for a job well done before packing up to let the bus take them home that same day.


A few of the students clearly took a great interest in volunteering with the Service and the California Condor Recovery Program and came up for individual questioning with the employees, making it a successful day.   The Hopper Mountain Office is excited to continue to work with NHEC and participate in these events that bring such a great opportunity to our youth, and contribute to connecting people with nature.



Lisa Cox is enrolled in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Student Career Employment Program (SCEP) and works as a student biologist at Hopper Mountain NWRC. Information about student employment opportunities with the Service are available at: http://www.fws.gov/jobs/wwd_student.html


Contact Info: Michael Woodbridge, 916-978-4445, michael_woodbridge@fws.gov
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