15 Jul Something New I Have Learned
During my time at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, I have been able to interact with a diverse group of people, each with their own interests on why they came to the refuge. I met some very interesting and knowledgeable individuals in our volunteer group. Jack Chiles is one volunteer that comes to mind, he is integral to our weekly bird surveys. I had the opportunity to hitch on to one of his bird counts to gain a better understanding of the species that inhabit Hagerman, or just stop by. Before my internship my bird identification skills were little to none. Being able to experience events such as these and discussions with birders has enabled me to develop a stronger background in bird identification. I find it a bit hilarious, when I provided an informal interpretive tour for my family during their visit, that I had been able point out the different birds that we would pass by, without hesitation.
Another skill I have developed involves constructing lesson plans, projects, or interpretive programs. Prior to my internship the only experience I had with public engagement were scientific reporting and occasional volunteering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. As visitor services intern am able to have firsthand experience in setting up educational programs. Depending on the audience, I would tailor a different interpretive program for the age group or interest. I am still improving this skill to determine what works and what would need further focus. I enjoy including foraging knowledge into some of my programs because it’s an interest of mine, and I feel like people really enjoy knowing what kind of things they can consume out in the wild.