16 June 2021

An Oasis in the Desert

Born and raised in the southwestern heat, I know quite a bit of what the desert ecosystem should look like, or at least I thought I did until I started here at the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge. Here at Stillwater, I was wonderfully surprised to be surrounded by a gorgeous display of a diverse set of wetland ecosystems in a desert setting.  The Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is a globally important bird area in Northern Nevada just outside the city of Fallon that provides both a haven and oasis to both migratory and residential birds throughout the year.

This past month through the Directorate Fellows Program (DFP) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) I have had the privilege of working with a bright team of staff on the refuge to study possible mercury contamination on the waterfowl on the refuge. Just about a month into this internship experience I already feel as though I have learned so much about both the complexities and ecosystem of the Stillwater Refuge and the welcoming community here in Fallon.

Every day, no matter if I am researching scholarly articles in the office, protocol writing field guide procedures, or out on the refuge, I am learning skills that are helping me both in my professional and life experiences. I am always extremely excited to start work in the morning because I know that I am always learning something new every day at Stillwater. I am looking forward to the rest of my internship experience and I am extremely grateful for the staff on the refuge that are giving me guidance and their insight throughout this process.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge

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