17 June 2021

New Experiences and an Exciting Future

Written by: Bryan Smith

A lot has happened in the first few weeks of my internship at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Reserve and it feels surreal thinking about how I got to this place in my life. Ever since high school I knew that I wanted to work in some place that allowed me to be involved with nature in some capacity but it's been a struggle getting the work experience necessary to land those jobs even through college. I went to Southern Illinois University for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, so I had all of my traditional education covered but the on-site experience escaped me until I was fortunate enough to get this internship with Fish & Wildlife Service at Crab Orchard. 

Even in just the first three weeks I've learned so much more than I could have ever imagined and I feel that I've grown personally as well. At the visitors' center I've helped out with a variety of tasks such as answering general questions about the refuge, learning about the programs that are offered, as well as selling visitors passes. Aside from those tasks I've also begun training to lead environmental educational programs for the local community, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous but I'm excited at the opportunity to come out of my shell. There are also a few wildlife related tasks that I’m really happy to have been a part of with the refuge. After five years of failed attempts to be a part of goose banding and wild life surveys with the IDNR through this internship. It was a really exciting and fun experience that I’m happy to have been a part of. Overall, these past three weeks have left me feeling overjoyed and extremely excited for what is to come over the next few months. 

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Crab Orchard NWR

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