02 August 2021

Building Confidence and Becoming a Leader

Written by: Bryan Smith

I’m writing this post a few weeks after my Latino Conservation Week event which happened on July 24th, which I’d say was a pretty big success. For my event I put together a clean-up event for the Woodland Trail, one of the six major trails in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. While it was a fairly straight forward event to lead I’m still very proud of myself for putting together an event at all. I learned a lot about what goes into planning an event like how to reach out to the community, what places to look for participants, how to create advertisements for the event, and many other important things necessary to setting up an event for the Fish and Wildlife Service. The group I lead was fantastic, everyone had a great attitude with lots of energy to pick up litter and we left a positive impact on the refuge by cleaning up one of the more popular trails on the property.

I feel that over these past few months I’ve been able to develop myself in many ways such as my leadership skills, creativity, and confidence in myself. In the past some of my biggest struggles came when it was time for me to take the lead, most of it stemming from anxieties if I actually could pull off whatever it was that I needed to do. With this internship I’ve been pushed to come out of my shell since the start, by having me go out into local communities doing activities like environmental education at schools or summer camps, kayaking tours of the refuge, and even just general labor to fix things around the refuge have made more comfortable and confident in my ability to do work on my own and even lead people through some activities. I have my wonderful coworkers at the refuge to thank for my newfound confidence, they always leave me feeling ready and supported for whatever tasks I take on at the refuge and I cannot thank them enough for that. Overall, my experience working at Crab Orchard has been amazing and I’m glad that I’ll be staying with them for a while.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Crab Orchard NWR

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