Blog


01 October 2018

Interning at a National Wildlife Refuge Complex



Category: Blog

What’s better than working at one National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)? The answer is working at multiple refuges at the same time!!! Since last summer, I have interning at the newly named Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex. A refuge complex can be described as a network of refuges that are managed by a Project Leader or Refuge Manager, and all share the same resources and equipment. The refuge complex where I intern consists of four National Wildlife Refuges that are located in 3 states; they include Great Swamp NWR and Wallkill River NWR in New Jersey, Cherry Valley NWR in Pennsylvania and Shawangunk Grasslands NWR in New York.

During my time at the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex I have come to appreciate and understand what it means to work at a refuge complex. I get the chance to travel between refuges, explore new places and get to know the communities that surround each refuge. I have been able to work on multiple projects ranging from planting a pollinator garden at Cherry Valley NWR to removing invasive species at Wallkill River NWR to helping with bat research at Great Swamp NWR. I have worked and interacted with all of the great USFWS staff members that work throughout the complex. Learned about the different characterizes that make each refuge unique and learn about the history that the refuge have; such as the amazing story of the communities that resisted a jetport project and instead they help create Great Swamp NWR.

Throughout my stay have learned many lesson, but the one lesson that I find most important has been time management and schedule flexibility. My weekly schedule consist of three days at Great Swamp NWR and two days at Wallkill River NWR, however this schedule changes depending on the work that has to be done around the complex; sometimes I would stay at Great Swamp NWR for the whole week, while other days I would work at Cherry Valley NWR and the next day I could be at Wallkill River NWR. A lot of these changes could happen as soon as the day before, but this active schedule has made my internship exciting and dynamic. There is never a dull moment throughout my week!

Even though it takes a lot of work, time and resources to manage a refuge complex, the incredible USFWS staff members from the Lenape National Wildlife Refuge Complex have been amazing at managing each individual refuge. I am thrill to be part of this complex and to be able to make a positive impact whenever a new project arises around the complex.

By: Daniel Correa

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