21 December 2022


Written by: Mandalyn Child

    What a wild ride. As I become more comfortable in my position on the forest, get to know my coworkers and peers, and participate in numerous vastly different projects, I can’t help but reflect on my gratitude for where I find myself. My hard work is rewarded consistently through praise and escalated responsibility. In a recent meeting, my mentor even joked that I might know our system better than he does. This is an exaggeration, I still have a lot to learn, but the positive feedback keeps me going. My mentor recently took leave, trusting me to “run the show” while he was away. There is a great deal of fulfilment to be gained when hard work is appreciated. My office was even invited to lunch with the deputy forest supervisor, which was so exciting . The door for networking is wide open, and I feel as though I am well on my way to a permanent place here. The more I do, the more involved I become, the more assured I am of the rightness of my decision to pursue a permanent placement. I have made a difference to the interdisciplinary teams I have been privileged to work with as well and seen firsthand the fruits of my work.

     This month the forest undertook a GMR review of leadership. It was refreshing to see acknowledgement of flaws in the system. So many people struggle with self-awareness, and admitting to mistakes is hard, but the forest service seems to attract responsible, noble, and self-aware individuals. It is inspiring to know that mistakes are seen as an opportunity for growth. Learning is encouraged, and curiosity is rewarded. It really is an excellent place for me, I have always said that my goal in life is to learn something new every day, and this opportunity has given me that in spades.

     I am grateful too for the latitude I am given, really allowing me the space to demonstrate my initiative and work ethic. Many people are surprised when I finish a task early or follow up later. This type of space to grow is far different from my experiences in the past. Serving the mission can look very different in the various departments within the Forest Service, but we are all working toward a common goal. It really is a family, which so many employers say but rarely mean.

     Special uses are working hard to modernize and streamline our application process to serve the public and care for the land. It is not as glamorous as fighting wildfires, there is a lot of paper pushing, filing, and phone calls. My specialty, communication, is a great asset however in making the process easy to understand for our proponents. Soon, we will be meeting a proponent in the field to discuss a private road permit. Although the weather is turning, and the topography is challenging, it will be very fun to work a case from birth to completion. I was also invited to serve as a scribe for the range management team as they solidify the range plan for the next three to five years. It is all very exciting, and I am so grateful to be part of it.

As the holidays are rapidly approaching, I am counting all the blessings in life. One of the greatest is this program.


About Us

Hispanic Access Foundation connects Latinos and others with partners and opportunities to improve lives and create an equitable society.

Phone: (202) 640-4342

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

EEO Policy
  | FCOI Policy