One month into the DFP program, and I now have a much fuller, more expansive understanding of the US Fish and Wildlife Service – it’s truly amazing how much the Service does! I am working this summer with the branch of desilting and foreign species. While I am not physically near any of my colleagues, over the course of the month I have learned from them about the biology of some threatened species and the process of navigating the federal government.
Before starting my internship, I did not realize how strategic and policy-minded FWS biologists would have to be. In June I had the opportunity to attend a writing course with Bridget Fahey, the division chief for conservation and classification – the group through which endangered species are listed, up/down-listed, and delisted. Coming from a purely academic background, it was interesting and encouraging to learn about writing styles for the government. Some of the components of writing style that my schooling had ingrained in me for decades turned out to be frowned upon by government standards!
Over the course of completing my summer assignment and learning from others in the branch, I am honing not only my writing, but my ability to see conservation issues through several lenses. Necessarily the government, in assessing and acting on conservation matters, must understand and communicate the broad gray areas. This way of evaluating and writing about endangered species, critical habitat, and other conservation actions helps to understand the role and importance of a diversity of stakeholders. I am excited to learn more from my colleagues this summer about effectively communicating broadly (not just to government; not just to academics) about conservation science and action.
Agency: US Fish and Wildlife Service
Program: Directorate Fellows Program
Location: Alaska Office of Law Enforcement