When I was doing school assignments and research a couple of semesters ago, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service was one of the resources that always made an appearance to me. The type of research that I have found, whether it was about the transmission of a species related zoonotic disease, or a document detailing restoration plans of an endangered bird, had always left me amazed and curiously wondering who does this type of work and who is it led by. A couple of visits to their website, and I instantly knew that one day I wanted to be among those people. The same people whose documents I was looking at, and the people who dedicated their knowledge and career to work with others to protect fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitat for the continuing benefit of the American people. A couple of semesters later I have found myself lucky enough to be one of the few that were selected to witness this small and incredible agency firsthand.
My first week in the Fish and Wildlife Service can best be described by the word “lost”. From day one, I was placed into many different meetings to meet and introduce myself to many people from the science application program and other divisions. However, I am fortunate to have a supervisor that has guided me into understanding the organizational structure of the FWS, and placed me in a position where I can understand many aspects of the Fish and Wildlife Service, it’s programs, and cleared all the questions that puzzled me in my first week. My role in the service has been unique, as I was brought in to assist with pollinator conservation. To do so, I am reviewing major databases in the service that contain data on pollinators and writing briefing reports to synthesize gaps that exist among them. To do this, I am having daily conversations and communications with many FWS staff from the fields, regional offices, and headquarters. My role is not just teaching me about pollinator conservation, but has challenged me to have self-direction, independence, and critical thinking in the way I am carrying my project.
It is no surprise that my virtual “walk “into the service had left me wondering how it would have been to do this in a different situation, without the pandemic. However, there have been a few things, despite them being simple, that have kept me going and inspired. First one being my own pollinator garden in my backyard. Stepping outside to my backyard’s garden and seeing tens and tens of the magical bumble bees made me realize how doing such a simple effort as planting some flowers can have a great impact our biodiversity goals, and the conservation of the land which we rely on. Going “bumble bee watching” with my 5-year-old nephew and teaching him about these amazing biodiversity contributors has given me hope in the future generation’s concern for the planet, and strengthened my faith in the power of education to restore our land and empower future generations. As it has been clear in this blog, I consider myself to be very lucky to be part of this conservation family. Through the U.S Fish and Wildlife service, I feel empowered, inspired, and motivated to continue my studies in this field, explore my options in the service long term, and be part of a community that continually makes an effort to conserve some of the most unique and magical wildlife that ever existed.
Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP
Location: USFS Headquarters, Washington Office