All Coming Together — Program Planning and Implementation

Since I last wrote a blog, a LOT has happened!  I have been gaining some wonderful experience, and I am starting to feel like a park ranger. I am doing regular front desk work, helping visitors fill their itinerary with attractions of the Everglades, community outreach to schedule programs in Collier county, and creating meetings with the other Fish and Feathers Interns in the area to collaborate and create programs. I am having my first two programs this coming Tuesday on an Introduction to Birding at two YMCAs, and I am very excited. I have developed my programs, so that it can adapt to any age group. I also will be making many new connections for the Gulf Coast Visitor Center for future programs after my internship with local senior living communities, youth groups, environmental organizations, and the local Audubon Society. I am looking forward to interacting with kids because the reason I wanted to get into a career of environmentalism is because I had professors and community leaders that were so passionate and excited to talk about nature, that it was contagious. I barely remember what I learned from them, but I will forever remember the excitement and emotion they ignited in me when talking. I hope to have this same effect on others. 

In other news, I had a whole day with park ranger John K. and learned about his job as a fish biologist, interpreter, and data analyst. He has such a vast knowledge of fish, and he tracks the fishermen and marinas in the area and what they catch as well as capacity to help regulate policies for fishing in the park. He showed me fish ear stones and the importance they had for archaeological uses in finding the diet of the Calusa natives that lived in the park a long time ago. Also, he measured a shark and catfish in front of me while networking with the locals. I touched a shark and a fish for the first time! He was very interesting and intelligent, and I am grateful that I am able to be surrounded by so many people that love their job — that is something that I never quite saw regularly while growing up. It makes me want to improve myself and read up on more information about the Everglades. 

I have four events that I am advertising for that are at the Everglades Visitor Center and I am collaborating with Lia and Aimee for community programs in addition to another intern at Shark Valley that is with another internship on climate change. I feel like I can actaully make a difference here, and I am thrilled for next week and what the future holds!

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