16 June 2021

Into the Thick of It!

Written by: Cassiel Ramirez

I am only about three weeks into my role as a Community Outreach intern and I can definitely say I am both metaphorically and physically in the thick of it! Metaphorically, I am surrounded by so much knowledge and new information because everyday on the job I learn something new. Physically, I am in the “thick of it” because I am surrounded by so much greenery every day. My passion for the environment has been growing each day and I am sure by the end of the summer I will have more than an abundance of takeaways from this amazing experience.

Every day I learn something new, and I would like to share a few of the things with you. For one, I learned how to properly use some construction and gardening tools. In the past weeks I have learned to use a dig bar, mallet hammer, fence post driver and electric circular saw. I used these tools in preparation of the construction of a new hoop house being built in my town and doing some maintenance work at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in their maintenance building. Using tools such as a dig bar, mallet hammer, fence post driver and electric circular saw requires a lot of strength and patience which are additional skills and knowledge I have learned throughout these three weeks. These new skills have made me realize that I truly enjoy getting my hands dirty and being in the field rather than sitting at a desk. I loved starting each day by putting on the correct personal protective equipment and getting right into the “thick of it” into these green environments.

Being immersed in greenery everyday really has affected me in such a positive way. My hometown is a very urban city so my exposure to forest, farms and other green environments is limited. This opportunity has allowed me to be immersed in these environments and I truly do enjoy it. When working in Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park I got to see a national historical park in an urban community which was really amazing. It was fascinating to see a park in such an urban city, this made me think that maybe one day there will be a national historical park in my urban city too. Especially with the pandemic we are spending more time indoors and online, so to finally be surrounded by nature basically everyday has impacted me so positively.

Overall, even though it has only been three weeks of knowledge and experiences I am truly into the thick of it! Bulking my knowledge every day and surrounding myself in beautiful green environments. I know in the upcoming weeks I will be exploring other places in New Jersey, and I cannot wait to continue. I know by the end of the summer I will be well-rounded in so many skills and be even more passionate about the environment. This is just the beginning, and I am already “into the thick of it”!

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

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