Photo: An anolis lizard holding itself to a leaf in El Yunque National Forest. Photo: An anolis lizard holding itself to a leaf in El Yunque National Forest. Photo courtesy of Freshwater Illustrated and David Herasimtschuk.
27 January 2021

A thank you note for the Hispanic Access Foundation

Written by: Carla Ayala Crespo

My internship with the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) and the US Forest Service (USFS) soon will be coming to an end, so these past few days I have been reflecting about the positive impacts HAF’s internship has had in my life and what are going to be next steps in my career as an Environmental Science student.

This internship has exposed me to topics, tasks, and challenges that I’ve never worked with before, in a way. For instance, as an undergraduate student, I worked with tropical streams in El Yunque for a significant time, but never had a conversation with the general public about the research project I was helping with or why it was important. Now I can explore that aspect of doing science and protecting aquatic resources. It is extremely important to share with the public the scientific activities taking place in public lands. From my experience, most of the time they show great interest on the research projects and are eager to know the results.

The exposure to this kind of topics can help involve the public in the management and protection of national forests. Knowing about the organisms that live in national forests and the natural processes that take place there can create a sense of wonder in the public. This sense of wonder can help create a desire for protecting these resources, which can further evolve to an increase in public involvement. Citizens involved in the conservation of their local national forests may develop a sense of belonging, which can benefit both the forest and the person.

This is the kind of work I have been doing during my internship. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the materials I have created will be shared virtually. Nonetheless, the experience has been very rewarding and eye-opening. Searching for interesting facts about El Yunque National Forest to share with the public, I have learned important things about myself. I learned that I would like to work with the US Forest Service in the future. Their mission of protecting the land and the natural resources for the enjoyment of present and future generations speaks to me. I also learned that I would like to explore a career path that I never considered before: science communication. For these reasons, I am extremely thankful for the work HAF does and I will continue to support and share information about their projects and efforts, which genuinely help bridge the lack of diversity in natural resources and land management agencies.

Agency: U.S Forest Service

Program: Resource Assistant Program (RAP)

Location: El Yunque National Forest

About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Contact Us