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Protecting What I've Never Seen Chris Wagner
17 July 2020

Protecting What I've Never Seen


Written by: Madison McGoarty


I am currently a USFWS DFP intern working for the Carlbad Field Office in California. My position is in the Ecological Services office doing listing and recovery of a plant species, Nevin's barberry (Berberis nevinii).

Nevin's barberry is a long-living, charpal scrub bush found on north-facing slopes of high elevations in southern California. It produces bright yellow flowers with red-yellow berries, perfect for animals and birds. Being a California species, fire barely effects well established individuals. This species even depends on fire to clear out the canapy to access full sunlight. 

The biggest hurdle I am facing with this opprotunity is the distance between myself and my species. I am currently 2,300 miles away, working from my laptop on the opposite side of the country in Florida. Being remote has the disadvantage of me, a field girl by heart, not being able to see or experience my species in its habitat. I have always been old school, I would rather walk up to someone I've never met to strike up a conversation than write an email, or speak over video conference. To me those types of conversations are distant and require too many formalities. However, this distance has also allowed me to adapt to this changing world we're living in, and reach out to my many partners in differenct offices and agencies to act as my proxy. 

Over the past four weeks, this internship has begun to foster bonds and create networking opprotunities that I hope to unitlize in my future endevors. I am slowly growing more comfortable with reaching out to my partners and share resources with them. 

I am excited to see how I will continue to grow throughtout this internship and develop more interpersonal skills from my remote location as I work on Nevin's barberry.

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service - DFP

Location: Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office

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