Weeks 11 & 12

I think I’ve had many successes in this internship. I am really proud of some of the things I have created, like my infographics and photo library. I am also proud of my Composting in Bear Country press release, which is sort of my ‘final project’ for this internship (and hopefully will go out this week!) That press release tested a lot of the skills that I have gained through the entire internship, like doing research on what information to put out, coordinating with other people in the office (as well as with another department), editing and revising different versions, etc. Short term, the press release is a great success because it is something that I have created that is getting published. Long-term, it allowed me to work on the previously mentioned skills that I will continue to have, and it will hopefully provide the public with more information on how to compost in bear country!

It is difficult to come up with challenges because this whole experience has been so rewarding. I suppose that one challenge could be working with other people that can be difficult to coordinate with or are very busy. I experienced this when asking others to review some of my infographics – some people would say that they’d look at them and then forget to respond, while others didn’t respond (all short-term challenges.) Those who did respond gave me great feedback, although it meant more revisions for me! All of this is to be expected, however, and it was a great learning experience.

Advertisements

Weeks 9 & 10

This internship has definitely gotten me hooked on the idea of having a career in wildlife. I have met so many biologists in the department and I’ve learned their stories of how they got to where they are today. Many of them started out at UVM, too! They are all so in love with what they are doing, and that is definitely why I chose this field of work. Although my internship is in outreach, I would really like to work in the field as a wildlife technician or biologist. Thankfully this internship involves a lot of field work in which I am able to interact with biologists working in the field.

Eric Sorenson

This internship definitely relates to my coursework as a wildlife biology student. I get to see research being done around the state, where in school I mostly read about the research that biologists have done in textbooks or scientific reports. I am also learning a lot about how to interact with the public from an outreach perspective, which relates to my coursework (such as in NR104) in that I’m learning about different viewpoints of various interest groups and how that goes into policymaking on wildlife-related issues. Really, I am getting a behind-the-scenes look at the career that I am preparing for in school, which is really neat!

Weeks 7 & 8

DSC_0106I have just completed week 8, and I can’t believe that time is going this fast! I have been having so much fun in my internship, and I have been gaining many valuable skills. One of the more ‘broad’ skills that I have gained is working in an office environment. Most of the jobs that I’ve had have been outdoor-based, so getting used to working in an office has been a useful experience. Since I am in the outreach division, I have gained a lot of skills that allow me to communicate with the public. I have been creating infographics that will help the public understand new Fish & Wildlife rules and initiatives, such as the Baitfish Rule and the Deer Urine Ban. When creating these, I need to make sure that they are understandable from the public’s perspective, simple, and easy to remember. I have also been editing some of the department’s talking points, that assist staff when asked questions about things like why hunting is important or why we stock fish.

Most recently, I have begun writing news releases that may be published in the future for the department. This is really exciting, since I am writing about topics that I am interested in (the bear study/composting with bears), and I am gaining the skill of writing on behalf of the department for a public audience. I am still in the beginning stages of this, but I am excited to continue this project and learn from those in the outreach division who are very experienced in this type of writing.

I have also gained organizational skills with my photo-library project, as I have been receiving many photos from department staff and assisting with people using the Flickr account. Additionally, I continue to learn so much from the biologists that we have been doing field days with, and all about the research that is going on around the state. Recently, I assisted with goose banding, which was incredibly cool!

I am looking forward to further developing my writing skills, as I am most used to doing scientific writing. It will be great to work on writing news releases, and I am also going to be writing an op-ed, which will allow me to gain more skills in another type of writing. I also look forward to brainstorming thesis ideas with Tom, as this is another goal for my internship (along with connecting with someone that I could do my research with.)

Weeks 5 & 6

I believe that professionalism at VT Fish & Wildlife is very much like what we discussed at our Perennial Interns meeting in April. When I am working in the office, I am expected to dress appropriately for the workplace and to interact politely with my coworkers. This is especially true when working at National Life in Montpelier, since you never know when you will run into a commissioner, the secretary, or even the governor!

When working in the field, I am expected to have the appropriate gear/clothing, and to be respectful when working with other biologists that we are shadowing. During week 5, we worked with Dave Adams, who is a UVM alum that now works for VT Fish & Wildlife managing private lands for better wildlife habitat. We went to a site at 5:30 in the morning to meet with a very eager and involved landowner that is managing her land for bird habitat. Margaret Fowler from VT Audubon was also there to help us with ID-ing different bird species, since Dave wanted to assess how his management plans were doing in regard to bird habitat. At this site, I interacted with another state employee, as well as a private landowner and a private organization, so professionalism is definitely important in these field days. I made sure to ask questions of both Dave and Margaret, so that I could learn more about what they do, and more about the birds that we were looking for. Before the day was over, Dave also mentioned that I could come along on more site visits with him in the future (during my internship or even after the internship is done.) I definitely enjoy making these professional connections that will continue to be valuable to me in the future.

Dave Adams

That same day, Tom and I attended the fisheries outreach meeting at the Essex office. I have been attending many meetings lately, where professionalism is also very important. I make sure to take a lot of notes, and have conversations with others in the meeting when there are breaks. Tom has done a great job of introducing me to everyone in the department, which is very useful since I am in the process of collecting photos from department members in offices all around the state!

Another field day that we had recently was a day out with Doug Blodgett to look for rattlesnakes (so cool!) Doug is in the process of looking for new sites where rattlesnakes are hanging out, in order to survey them later on for snake fungal disease. We managed to find one, although we only heard its rattle. We did see a few garter snakes, and a skink, however! This field day felt a little bit more casual, as Doug is such a friendly and talkative guy. I learned a lot about what he does now, in addition to the history of his career and the career of his wife, Kim Royar, who also works in my office.

dsc_3773_19868073556_o

I believe that this internship definitely affirms my previously held beliefs about professionalism. In this work environment, you need to present yourself well and have good interactions with coworkers, members of other organizations, and the public – especially when working in the outreach department!

Weeks 3 & 4

I am coming to the end of week four of my internship, and I already feel like I have gotten a lot done! I have been doing a lot of work on my photo project, organizing many more photos and tagging them for the department’s new Flickr account that I created. Now that I have completed going through all of the photos available on the joint drive for the department, Tom and I have reached out to the department staff to have them send me in some more photos from their personal computers. I am still waiting on those to be sent to me, however there is a biologist in my office who has given me some incredible bird photos that he has taken to sort through.

In addition to the photo project, I have begun to work on some other small projects. The first is to edit lists of ‘talking points’ for the department. These talking points are to guide biologists when answering questions that are often posed to them from the public, such as to explain the deer urine ban or the bait fish rule. I have edited old lists of talking points and even created a few lists of my own. As fun as it is to look at photos, it is a nice change to be doing some writing and looking at words again!

I have also been tasked with creating infographics for the department on certain topics. These are similar to posters, that explain certain things to the public with graphics in a fun, easy-to-look-at format. My first infographic that I started today explains the baitfish regulations that the department enforces.

11119445_10207000653605443_1722242098_n

When I am not working, I continue to volunteer on the bear study in Southern Vermont that I have been volunteering on for the past year. This is a study that is being done by Vermont Fish & Wildlife to assess the impact that a wind turbine project will have on the bear population once built. Last weekend I helped out with trapping, and we got a bear that we named Murphy. Since this is considered field work for the department, which is a component of my internship, Tom said that in the future I could work on the bear study and count it towards field days for work. In order for it to count for work, I am supposed to be increasing my level of responsibility when we are working with the bears. Next time we trap, I will be eartagging the bear myself, as well as learning how to reset the traps!

11119625_10207000653685445_957815480_n

I also had an exciting field day last week, when I participated in a field necropsy workshop. I got to assist in necropsying a deer carcass as well as an owl and an otter carcass. I also got to see foxes, bobcats, and fisher necropsied. Sounds gross, but it was really, really cool!

19001953601_6b5d1da6ee_z (1)

I would say that right now I am still mostly intrigued by all of the work that everyone is doing around me. I enjoy talking to other people in the office about what projects they are working on, as well as sitting in on the outreach meetings and hearing about the dozens of projects that my coworkers are involved in. I would say that I am a little overwhelmed in thinking about having multiple things that I am working on now, since I now have to divide my time between the photo project and the infographic project, as well as other smaller side projects in a short twenty-hour-per-week internship. I just want to be sure that I am getting everything accomplished and not forgetting to spend enough time on something! Still, Tom has said that I am very ahead right now so I’ll be alright! I am definitely most confident that I am doing a good job on the photo project, since I have heard a lot of positive feedback from Tom and other people in the office.

One of my assumptions when beginning this internship was that I would be working on small projects and assisting with things that weren’t too significant; in other words, that I wouldn’t be making a large impact on this work environment as an intern. That has definitely not been the case, as it seems that there is a large need for an organized photo database, and the project that I am working on will not only benefit the people in my office, but everyone in the department in offices around the state. I am so glad that the work I am doing will continue to help out the department in the future!

Weeks 1 & 2

I am in my second week of work now, and so far I am really enjoying it! I have begun one of my main projects for the summer, which involves going through all of the photos from the department, tagging them, and uploading them to a Flickr account (this allows the department staff to access the photos with ease by using the searchable tags.) I really enjoy looking through all of the photos, especially the old ones from over thirty years ago! It is really interesting to see the work that the department has been engaged in during this time. It has also been a great way for me to learn names of everyone in the department, since I am tasked with tagging the individuals in the photos as well. Furthermore, I get to learn a bit more about the type of research that each staff member is or has been involved in through these photos. I have even contributed some of my own photos of hiking and kayaking into the database. I am very surprised at how well I already know all of these photos! I have been able to go back and successfully find a photo that I may be looking for among thousands with ease. Using the Flickr account has been a fun experience as well, as I have previously never used a site like this to store any of my own photos.

I haven’t gone out on a field day yet, however I will be going out next week. I think that I am most looking forward to these field days, as I will get to meet many other biologists and learn more about research that is going on all around the state. One thing that I am getting used to in this new internship is sitting at a desk all day! I can’t complain, however, since I only have to be in the office two days per week. Still, it is a bit of an adjustment since last summer I worked outside seven days a week, and I have had many other jobs outside as well. I’m sure I’ll get used to it!

“What are you most looking forward to in your internship?”

I am very excited to be beginning my internship with Vermont Fish & Wildlife in just a couple of weeks! I will be working in the Outreach department, and my time will be divided between outreach work and field work. I have been volunteering with VTFW in the field for the past year, so I am definitely excited to get to see a different perspective of the department through working in the Montpelier office. One of my tasks will be to organize photos that have been taken over the years into an online database; I will also get to take some of my own photos, and I am interested in improving my photography skills. During the field portion of my internship, I will be traveling around the state, meeting other biologists, and learning about research that is going on throughout the department. I think that am most excited for this part – getting to meet so many other people doing interesting research!