A Day In My Position

Photo: Monty Tyner

Hello Everyone,

My name is Olivia Barragan Velasquez! I am a Visitor Services/Environmental Education intern at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Marion, IL. Here is a day in my position:

A Day In My Position

I arrive at the Visitors Center at 7:00 am. I’m usually sending out emails, responding to emails, or prepping for programs. At 7:30 am, I open the Visitors Center to the public. January and February have been the slowest months so far. The rest of the day is filled with assisting visitors, answering phone calls, submitting volunteer hours, contacting the Friends group for volunteers, preparing for more programs, volunteering to help other environmental educators for programs, answering more emails, running the gift shop, doing humidity checks, and for me, specifically, wildland firefighter training whenever I have the chance.

So far, Mondays have been slow. Which gives me time to catch up on firefighting. Tuesdays we have Trail Crew and I might sometimes go with them to help. On Wednesdays, we have Sign Crew and I’ve also gone in to help them as well. I am off on Thursdays and Fridays, and every other Saturday. Saturdays and Sundays get really busy which makes the days go by fast. At 4:00 pm, I close the Visitors Center, put away my register, close the gift shop, and then lock up the building.

My weekends are Thursday, Friday, and every other week I have Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off. During those days I am usually hiking with Friends members learning new things that I could use in programs. I’ve been spending a lot of time getting to know the Friends groups individually. I have enjoyed spending time with them on my weekends learning new things and going on hikes. I am also volunteering my days off to help the Pollinator Project and wildlife surveying with the wildlife biologists.

My coworker, Janie, has been the biggest help. We work well as a team and we communicate well. We have been helping each other out which makes everything less stressful. We have been working on marketing, volunteer coordinating, and programs. Ever since I received her help I have been significantly less stressed out. Starting in April we will be busy with more programs so my days will look different then. On certain days we will be facilitating school programs, other days we will be assisting volunteers with public programs. There are also regional Environmental Education meetings that we will be attending as well as some corroboration programs with US Forest Service and Giant City State Park.

I have the opportunity to experience several fields even if I don’t have to. I give myself a lot to be busy with. This internship has been opening doors that I didn’t think were possible.

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