I have never identiﬁed ducks before. Nor have I ever driven a UTV (Utility Task Vehicle), searched for Karner blue butterﬂies, or sloshed through wetlands in knee-high boots with a clipboard. Yet in the ﬁrst few weeks of my SCA internship at beautiful St. Croix Wetland Preserve, I got to do all of these things, as well as meet awesome seasonal interns and full-time staff.
Follow Me is the place to read field dispatches from SCA members serving the planet all over the USA.
Sarika Khanwilkar | May 26, 2015
“People Protect What They Love” - Jacques Cousteau
This is my favorite quote from one of the most iconic and recognizable names in conservation. These ﬁve words describe my own journey towards becoming a Student Conservation Association intern. I have fallen in love with discovering the diversity that inhabits this planet, and being immersed in the natural environment.
Sarika Khanwilkar | April 8, 2015
An invasion is occurring right now, all over the country. Lining roads, populating waterways and lurking in your own backyard, non-native plants and animals have hitched a ride with humans and spread across continents. Whether they were transported intentionally or as cargo ship stowaways, in ecosystems where these new species ﬂourish to the detriment of native plants and animals, they are invading.
Rachelle Hedges | February 23, 2015
I had just witnessed ﬁrst-hand that using technology and spending time outdoors is not an either/or proposition. One does not inherently exclude or lessen the value of the other, and just because we have a generation that loves their phones, doesn’t mean we won’t have a generation of conservationists too. I believe the marrying of technology and nature will help to better both, making each more valuable, more accessible and healthier. And I believe that students like the ones I worked with today will be the driving force behind this marriage for many years to come.
Sarika Khanwilkar | February 23, 2015
I was picking up trash the other day on the West edge of Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge, where old pizza boxes, beer cans, plastic bags and other miscellaneous, unidentiﬁable objects are scattered across the landscape. Most of this litter is cast from cars zipping by on US Highway 1. As the Florida sun continued beaming, I got an eerie gut feeling that I was being watched, like something had snuck up on me.
Rachelle Hedges | February 12, 2015
Well, I really left you hanging last time, didn’t I? I got you all excited about GIS and the amazing things it can do, but I never told you what you would do if you worked in GIS. So, what does a day in the life of a GIS Manager, Specialist or Technician look like? Well, I don’t know.
Sarika Khanwilkar | February 5, 2015
Sarika Khanwilkar spends her mornings with a skunk named Mango, and her afternoons watching out for endangered Gopher Tortoises. Learn more about her life as an SCA intern in her ﬁrst ﬁeld dispatch from Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge.
Rachelle Hedges | February 4, 2015
In December of 2010 I left a career in advertising to go back to school for a degree in natural resources management. One of the main reasons for making this change, was that I needed a job in which I could work outside. I love being outside. I love hiking. I love building trails, measuring trees, using tools, and all of the other wonderful things that for the last four years I’ve gotten to do under the guise of “work”. (Including leading two amazing SCA crews!)
Emily Bowles | September 5, 2014
Where to begin? How many 22 year-old lumberjacks can say that they have cut down a blowdown with a congressman, the Secretary of the Interior, President of the Wilderness Society and the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service? My head is inﬂating just thinking about it. But after yesterday my crew and I can say just that.
Emily Bowles | August 28, 2014
In the most famous passage of the Wilderness Act, writer Howard Zahniser deﬁnes wilderness beautifully and concisely: “A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” As my crewmates and I work to prepare Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge to host the Wilderness Act’s 50th birthday party—which will include a visit from the public lands manager to all public lands managers, Secretar
Jeffrey Sommer | August 27, 2014
Hungry predators are determined to get a good meal, even if it isn’t easy. Plenty of our screened nests see attempted predation by raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, and ghost crabs. Luckily the seashores boar population hasn’t gotten involved in this trend, as a boar could easily shred through the metal screens that we install to protect the nests.
Marinell Chandler | August 26, 2014
As of today, our new puppy is over two weeks old. His eyes have opened, and he is growing very quickly from the little pup that could ﬁt in my one hand to one that is starting to toddle around the ﬂoor of his pen. From day one after this pup’s birth we’ve been asked what his name is, and we ﬁnally an answer.
Emily Bowles | August 22, 2014
When William Bradford hopped off of the Mayﬂower and onto Plymouth Rock, he described the landscape that lay before him as a “hideous and desolate wilderness.” Wilderness, in 1620, was not a scarce resource to be protected and treasured. It was scary and empty, a wasted space awaiting the day that an enterprising human might chop it up, organize it, and put it to good use.
Jacob Cravens | August 19, 2014
Amosh Neupane | August 18, 2014
While loading the hard hats into our van at Floyd Bennett Field, I heard someone ask, “Why are we taking these hats with us to the ceremony?” Someone behind me replied, “Maybe these are our graduation caps.” And it was then that it dawned on me: there would be no going back to work on Monday, there would be no packing up lunch, there would be no waking up in the wee hours of the morning and taking the train to Manhattan. Our morning meetups at Castle Clinton would be history.
Jeffrey Sommer | August 16, 2014
Turtle Conservation isn’t all starlit, beachside fun and games folks. In fact a good chunk of the work I do keeping sea turtles off the extinction list happens inside the library of Canaveral National Seashore headquarters. In order to prove that sea turtle conservation is working and worthwhile, we need to document every single turtle event on the beach, from nesting to standing. It’s not as easy as opening up a tablet and inputting all the information on a spreadsheet, right there on the beach.
Marinell Chandler | August 14, 2014
The next generation of Denali’s wilderness protectors has arrived!
This past week, the kennels became a whir of activity preparing for – and ﬁnally, celebrating – the arrival of Sylvie’s due date. Late at night on August 9th Sylvie
Jacob Cravens | August 12, 2014
What good can I do? I’m only one person in my twenties. What can I do when the environmental crisis is so big and the obstacles so large? Multinationals make billions of dollars causing damage to the environment and billions of people use their products. I have $5.25 and my SCA payment card in my wallet. There are other people like me that care about the environment, right? Are they enough?
Caroline Woodward | August 8, 2014
I would say a lot has happened in the past week, but really something different happens every day. No two service days are the same, and we are eating it up more than the mosquitoes are eating us up (which is a considerable amount; they don’t call it Mosquito Lagoon for nothing).
Jeffrey Sommer | August 8, 2014
People have always told to me to pursue my passions, and that if you love your job it will feel like you’ve never worked a day in your life. I am an active person who loves the outdoors, and I am uber passionate about the natural world. When presented with the opportunity to spend my ﬁrst post-collegiate summer outdoors and on the beach as a Herpetology Intern at Canaveral National Seashore, how could I refuse?