Internship Experiences

Read experiences from some former interns.

  • Dan Hannon

    Dan Hannon

    My name is Dan Hannon, and I am pursuing my Bachelors in Wildlife Management at SUNY Cobleskill. I spent the summer of 2012 working for the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge; this was my first work experience in the field of natural resources. 

    Much of my time was spent surveying secretive marsh birds, upland breeding birds, and water birds. Another portion of my time consisted of strapping on my waders and searching for the endangered (and elusive!) bog turtle. As white-nose syndrome continues to negatively affect bat populations in the Northeast, surveying for bats has become increasingly difficult. Bat netting is a great experience and fun time (if you’re a night owl) and is also becoming an increasingly desirable skill set, in the wildlife field. Other responsibilities included invasive species management/surveying, habitat restoration, trail maintenance, data management, dove/ waterfowl banding, radio telemetry (bat/wood turtles/bog turtles), and wetland vegetation surveys. One unique project was camera trapping. I was able to use my personal trail cameras to survey multiple sites for mammalian species allowing me to expand my knowledge and technique. Moreover, I gave a presentation on camera trapping mammalian predators to a youth summer camp in the area. I have made plans to come back during my winter break to volunteer and do more intensive camera trapping. Working for the National Wildlife Refuge System was an invaluable opportunity. I gained experience in a wide range of practical skills used in the wildlife field and learned a lot from the staff and volunteers.
    Other than the wide range of experiences this summer, my favorite part was the staff and volunteers. They are all dedicated, intelligent, and knowledgeable people who work hard for the resource and respect the importance of stewardship. The staff is full of awesome people who take their job very seriously, but still know how to have a good time and make you feel like you’re part of something special. Overall, I give this summer a 10 out of 10, growing up right down the road in New York I feel especially lucky to have been able to give back to the land and community that I know and love.

  • Beth Stevenson

    Beth Stevenson

    My name is Beth Stevenson and I spent the summer of 2012 working as a biological science intern at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. I will be receiving my B.S. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Maryland, College Park, and hope to continue pursuing my interests in wildlife ecology and management at the graduate level. 

    Prior to my arrival at Wallkill River NWR, I became interested in white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that is causing devastating levels of mortality among bat populations on the east coast. Because the federally endangered Indiana bat has been documented on the refuge, an important portion of summer research effort includes monitoring of bat populations. I was able to gain valuable bat-related experience in mist netting, acoustic monitoring, and data management throughout the course of my internship. In addition, I also spent a significant amount of time conducting surveys for a number of plant and wildlife species, including turtles (bog and wood) and birds (upland, secretive marsh, and water species); managing for invasive plant species; waterfowl and dove banding; and radio telemetry of bats and turtles. Most of my duties this summer were biological; however, we often joined the non-biological staff in trail maintenance and public interactions. 

    Throughout the course of my summer at Wallkill River, I have come to learn how truly unique this refuge is. The hard working, yet family-like attitude of the staff at Wallkill promotes learning through experience and responsibility. I thoroughly enjoyed working with USFWS employees that were eager to share their experiences and to help me achieve my professional goals, both within the scope of this internship and beyond.


  • David Muñoz

    David Muñoz

     My name is David Muñoz, and I was a biological science intern at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge during the summer of 2012. This was a great experience to undertake after graduating from Elon University in North Carolina with a B.S. in Environmental and Ecological Science. 

    Perhaps the best part about my experience at Wallkill River is that I got the opportunity to participate on many projects with a significant amount of depth: bat netting and acoustic monitoring; bog and wood turtle telemetry; upland, marsh, and shorebird surveys; invasive plant control; and GIS. Coming from an ecological background, this internship gave me experience in habitat and wildlife management. Furthermore, I participated in public education programs and conducted my own. Lastly, as part of my personal project for the refuge, I made a brochure on the herpetofauna found on the refuge after spending the summer doing a herpetofaunal inventory. 

    The staff at the refuge is excellent and fun to be around, so the biological science internship was a meaningful and helpful experience. It is a great opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge and to develop as a professional.