Welcome to Patuxent Research Refuge: The invaluable gem between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

JoAnna Marlow reflects on her first few weeks as an intern with the Hispanic Access Foundation at Patuxent Research Refuge. Be sure to join us all summer as we hear from our interns about their work and experience. 

The few weeks that I have been a Hispanic Access Foundation intern at Patuxent Research Refuge have been some of the most productive and meaningful weeks for me. I truly learn something new each day and the excitement that I feel from learning here is something that I want to share with others. Each staff member is extremely knowledgeable and they have been helpful and supportive since the beginning of the internship. So far, Abraham, the other Hispanic Access Foundation intern here, and I have had great opportunities, such as bird banding, rescuing box turtles from the road, fishing days with kids, shadowing environmental interpreters, leading a Play in the Park event at the National Wildlife Visitor Center, and meeting influential figures whose passions as environmental stewards are incredibly inspiring.

I believe it is important to connect with urban communities and help them appreciate nature and understand why conservation and preservation should matter to them. In the next few weeks, Abraham and I will be helping with summer mini-camps for campers that are five to 15 years old. We will also be giving electric tram tours, which will prepare us for our special tram tours given in Spanish during the beginning of Latino Conservation Week. We are extremely grateful for the connections and opportunities to coordinate events with the Latino communities in both Laurel, Maryland near the refuge and south Baltimore, Maryland near Masonville Cove!

A few participants at Kid’s Fishing Day at the National Wildlife Visitor Center.
Photo credit: JoAnna Marlow

Throughout this internship, I hope to encourage youth and demonstrate that you don’t have to be a specific gender to play with mud and bugs, or enjoy fishing or camping, and you certainly don’t have to be of a certain race or social class to love nature and want to protect it. There are many barriers for these communities to overcome, but with our guidance and our love for outreach, I believe we can create opportunities that empower underrepresented Latino youth and families.

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