A Day in my Position

A typical day starts with me looking through my email and responding to any messages that require attention. About 10 min prior to the visitor center opening, I proceed to open up the center’s main entrances to allow our volunteers to have access the visitor center shop and prepare for the day. I often communicate with my supervisor to determine if there are any new objectives that need to be met, so that I may organize my tasks accordingly. My main task as a visitor services intern is to perform the duty of Roving Ranger. A Roving Ranger travels throughout the refuge and communicates with visitors and provide them with information about the refuge. Hagerman is a popular location for birders and fishermen. Common questions from the public involve where they could find a certain type of bird, and which is the best place to catch a certain fish. In addition to answering their question, I would provide an educational tidbit of refuge facts. Photographers visit our refuge to snap amazing wildlife pictures; they often visit our visitor center and provide use with their accounts of what animals they have been seeing. Roving Ranger also provides another service, presence of refuge staff. In addition to that duty, some other tasks that I perform involve, working with volunteers to accomplish goals, assist in developing educational programs to include in events, and assisting in refuge upkeep. Scout troops and schools are always planning visits to our refuge, so we also tend to their needs as well, whether it be working for a badge or an informational tour. Towards the end of the day at 4pm the visitor center begins the closing process. The last of our tasks that could be worked on are organized for the day ahead before we head out of the office at the end of the day.

Some noteworthy tasks I have worked on include, working with bluestem master naturalist on USFWS monarch research, performing outreach at Homeschool Day at the Dallas Zoo, assisting in updating of refuge maps, and notifying the public of the refuge’s prescribed burn.
Every day is different as new situations occur. The refuge participates in some recreational hunting about every other month. Because of these hunts some of the refuge zoned out from the public. During these events the refuge is constantly busy with hunters and visitors. The visitor center office phones ring more frequently due to the influx of people at the refuge, mostly hunters looking for an edge in their hunt.

Thursday April the 28th was the last survey for the spring monarch migration study. For a majority of the survey monarch butterflies were lacking in our survey areas, until the last visit of survey area. Located among the field of sapling honey locust, common vetch, and torched cedar remains were bundles of milkweed scattered throughout the area. We recorded over a hundred individual green milkweed plants and so much more left unrecorded due to survey constraints. For every milkweed recorded we scouted for monarch eggs and larvae. On my first several milkweeds I discovered 2 monarch eggs and a larva on its instar 3 stage.

Friday April the 29th our first 2nd grade class had come to visit our refuge. During their visit they we able to play a game and learn about monarch migration. I had instructed this class and educated them about monarchs, their migrations, the struggles they face, and how we could help them. Following my lecture, I had answered any questions they had asked, and did they ask. My supervisor and I had then provided them with a guided hike on our Harris creek trail where they were able to identify species and concepts that they could record in their Jr. Ranger booklet, in addition to the trail we had a guided walk through our pollinator garden.

May 14th is Hagerman’s official grand opening day in conjunction with World Migratory Bird Day and night sky observation to end the day. Throughout the day there will be informational discussions, interactive activities, and tram tours. The refuge is always planning months ahead to keep up with visits and events. There is still much to experience.

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