Coming to work here at the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge this summer has been an adventure everyday. I love people and wildlife, so interning for visitor services was a perfect fit for me this summer. Each day, the visitor services team and I are welcomed with a new task – whether it be planning and completing a program for children, coordinating a hike, or doing general tasks for the refuge. We have also been lucky enough to help out with some biological work; like attending the common tern census at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, releasing Blanding’s turtles with high school students, helping with nesting and hatching of blanding’s turtles at Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge, pulling the invasive water chestnut at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge’s Concord Unit, or learning how to use a mist net to band song birds.
One of my favorite things to do this summer has been trailside interpretation. Every week we have the chance to set up a small table along popular hiking trails with brochures about the different refuges in eastern Massachusetts, and a few things for children to touch and see! They love touching the beaver skull, and it gives us a chance to engage with the public and let them know what we do and why we do it.
Another part of my job that I love is working with school children from urban areas. For some, it may be their first time going on a hike or seeing a great blue heron. The look on their eyes is the encouragement to keep going and show them more. They are fascinated with the microorganisms found in the pond, the signs of the beavers, and the exhibit room located at the visitor center.
Overall, interning here at the refuges in eastern Massachusetts has been a very rewarding job. Some days are long, but it is the lit up faces of kids (and adults too!) that make coming in each day worth it.