The Student Conservation Association's Online Community
I have had a great first week as a resource interpretation intern with the National Parks Service. On Monday, I reported for work at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Broad Channel New York. I have lived in New York my entire life and I never knew about my site until the time of my internship. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area which encompasses many more properties managed by the National Parks Service. The refuge is home to a diverse array of birds, plant species and other wildlife. I was excited to learn from the park rangers that there were projects I could get involved with such as tracking plant growth and assisting with diamondback terrapin studies. I got to spend time behind the front desk of the visitors center where I greeted patrons and recorded statistics. I learned that park rangers not only have to greet people at the visitors center, they have to be out on the trails to interact with patrons. When I was out on the trails I had to strike up conversations with people I didn't know. I got to speak with a handful of bird watchers some of them helped me to learn different species. Since I don't have formal experience with bird identification I got to learn something new by talking with birdwatchers. One of my goals for the internship is to familiarize myself with the different bird species found at the wildlife refuge. I also had the chance to assist one of the park rangers on a group tour with school children. The park ranger was very knowledgeable, he was able to clearly explain the significance of many different bird and plant species. I have good first impressions of my site and the park rangers I will be working alongside.