A Talk on the Wild Side.
Intern at a National Wildlife Refuge
Do you ever see photos on Facebook of someone with a big grin and wide eyes, holding a recently banded bird? And you get an ache in your heart, inspiration to get out there and do a similar project. Well, then you’re going to love these opportunities. Some might even set you on the path to a career in wildlife conservation.
Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hired more than 1,500 interns, ages 15 and older. This year, one of those could be you!
Some national wildlife refuges are already looking for 2016 summer interns, including: Chincoteague (VA), Rachel Carson (ME), Iroquois/Erie (NY/PA), Neal Smith (IA) and Santee (SC).
We’re sharing some of the most common tasks that summer interns get assigned and a translation of what assignments REALLY mean.
Fins and Feathers
Band birds (Coldwater River Refuge, MS) → Help scientists track birds' health and numbers.
Summer Intern Stories about Bird Banding.
Monitor shorebirds and search for nests (Chincoteague) → Watch birds and figure out their nesting behavior.
Mist-net birds (Parker River, MA) → To band them, you have to catch them. Learn to do it safely for both you and the birds.
Rescue fish from a dried pond (Hagerman, TX) → Get that fish to water to help it survive.
Digging in the Dirt
Control invasive plants (William L. Finley, OR) → Rescue native plants from the grips of invasive bullies.
Propagate native plants (Neal Smith) → Steward awesome plant growth that helps many animals.
Welcoming Others and Teaching About the Natural World
Greet and assist visitors (Many refuges) → Welcome visitors and guide them to an incredible experience at the wildlife refuge.
Develop interpretive programs (Santee) → Help visitors understand refuge sights and sounds in a bigger context.
Give environmental education presentations (Chincoteague and many others) → Help visitors understand the science or history beneath the surface.
Summer Intern Story
Show kids how to dip net (Wertheim, Long Island) → Teach kids a skill they will never forget!
Manual Labor in the Glorious Outdoors
Maintain trails (Santee, William L. Finley) → Clear a natural path through woods, mountains and valleys.
Maintain wood duck boxes (Santee) → Give the ducks a safe place to nest.
Cut trees (Neal Smith) → Flex those muscles and down woody invaders that don’t belong.
Collecting Data for Science:
Count tiny crocodiles → Crocodiles? Yes, that’s what we said.
Collect data on bats (Cape May, NJ) → Spend hours under a tree roost or in a cave counting bats.
Monitor forest health → Play like a tree doctor.
Collect data and survey wildlife (Chincoteague) → Nerd out on the many possibilities for charts and graphs and lists and spreadsheets
Summer Intern Stories
We all know someone who would be a perfect fit for a summer internship at a national wildlife refuge. Whether that’s you or someone you know, find your local refuge or connect with Student Conservation Association and locate an internship near you.
Learn more about internships and how to apply here.