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Working a 9 to 5 Job That You’d Never Believe

Today we’re hearing how Kelly Vera is tackling invasive species and conserving natural habitats as a Hispanic Access Foundation intern. Follow the journey of Hispanic Access Foundation interns doing great conservation and outreach work throughout the northeast here!

Throughout my college career, I had always told individuals that a 9 to 5 job was not for me. It wasn’t until I had the opportunity to be an intern with Hispanic Access Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, where I began to see through the complexities between that statement and where I am now. I have recognized the disconnect between the upcoming and current generation as social media evolves and the environment dissolves. I’ve found that a lot of people are disconnected and fail to recognize and appreciate their surroundings. I find it necessary to stay rooted with our native land in order to appreciate and understand the gifts that come from it. I believe that everyone is entitled to clean water, fresh air, natural food and proper living resources to ensure a healthy and happy lifestyle.

While I am just one person; with the collaboration with Hispanic Access Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I have been given the opportunity to make an impact on other communities to communicate, to educate and to engage others with wildlife and individuals. While being an intern with the Service, I have been able to learn about invasive plants, recognize different species like birds, bunnies, frogs, turtles and so much more. During my internship, I am able to be an active part of the refuge to conserve and maintain the wildlife and their homes.

Wood Turtle at Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge for endangered species day.

I am stationed at two wildlife refuges, which are Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge. Other than utility vehicle training, canoeing and kayaking training, I have learned a great deal about invasive plants and the hazards that come from invasive and how effective they are to aquatic and other lives. I have learned ways in which people at the refuges manage water control systems to manipulate water levels and ensure habitat throughout the refuge. I have been able to monitor bird life by bird banding, bird eggs through bird gourd houses and acoustic bat surveys through the bats’ high-frequency pulses of sound.

I’ve learned that every helping hand goes a long way and that the refuge is a community based area that is supported from many individuals who are able to help maintain the area and save the wildlife and habitat.