Capturing the Mission: Science Communications Internships

Interning with Student Conservation Association was the best opportunity I could have experienced as a recent college graduate. I was exposed to some amazing people and places that made my internship truly memorable. Working alongside the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s External Affairs team allowed me to tell the amazing stories of projects happening all throughout the Northeast Region, sometimes travelling to do so! On one occasion, I traveled to Maine to meet a biologist to see how far their monarch and woodcock project had come! It was rewarding to highlight their amazing story and hard work to preserve land for two species in need.

Don’t just take my word for it! SCA interns from all over have experienced everything from broadcasting to endangered species work! Let’s hear from Beth Decker, her full story is here.

We were headed out to get footage of the Puritan tiger beetles and the beaches they live on.

“For the past two summers, I have been working at the Service’s Northeast Regional Office in Hadley, Mass. in our broadcast department. We’re the side of the Service that most people may not know about- we work with our public affairs team to tell our stories using multimedia. I have had the privilege to see conservation in action, and document it so people are aware of the work we do.  I’ve documented red knots, Puritan tiger beetles, and Karner blue butterflies. I’m always excited to start my next project and show our mission in action!”

Rani Jacobson has an incredible story to tell too! Her story begins on Great Gull Island in New York.  Here’s what she learned!

Rani Jacobson with a tern chick. Credit: Venice Wong

“We learned how to trap and handle adult terns and how to record certain information, such as weight, beak length and band number. The next part of the day was devoted to banding tern chicks, which was a bit easier and much more fun. We used pliers to put bands on the legs of the chicks and recorded the band number and how many chicks and eggs were in the nest, all while being dive-bombed by the adults.  I had a fantastic week on the island.”

Here’s a look at one last intern that can turn a serious matter into a call for action. Tom Barnes communicated the seriousness of white-nose syndrome in bats in this blog, and brought a serious conservation concern to light.

Healthy Virginia big-eared bats. Bats are fascinating animals that are vital for a health environment, eating tons of insects nightly, benefiting our crops, our forests and us. Credit: Craig Stihler / WVDNR

“Despite their long association with vampires, haunted houses and the uncanny in general, bats are facing a horror story of their own. The disease white-nose syndrome has decimated bat populations in our region, killing nearly all hibernating bats in some areas. And it’s spreading — first documented in a New York cave in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease or the fungus that causes it (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) is now found in 33 states. Experts fear that some bats are even becoming extinct in certain areas. If one thing’s clear, we shouldn’t be afraid of bats. We should be afraid for them.”

As interns, it’s our job to share these stories and learn from the incredible adventures along the way. Interested ? We’re looking for two communication interns for our Fisheries & Aquatic Connectivity and Ecological Services programs. These 10-month paid positions will be located at our regional office in Hadley, Massachusetts. Click here for more information.

More great intern stories with USFWS External Affairs!

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