The Refuge has participated in the Student Conservation Association's internship program since August 2011. Over the last year, the Refuge has hosted five hard-working SCA interns who have come from all over the United States to receive hands-on experience with biology, management, education, and more.
One of our current SCA interns, Alissa Gulette, a junior at the University of Florida, applied to the Refuge as an unpaid intern for the summer of 2012. When an unexpected opportunity to become an SCA intern became available, Alissa's hard work and eagerness to learn made her the perfect candidate for the job. Although Alissa is not sure what she wants to do with her degree in Biology, she is sure that her time spent here will help her make that decision when the time comes.
The other SCA intern at the Refuge, Eli Nez, is a rising junior at Diné College located in Arizona. Eli is a part of a unique SCA program called the Tribal Youth Intern Program designed to provide students with Native American background a chance to work in conservation science. Like Alissa, Eli doesn't know what he wants to do after graduation but he feels that this position has given him the opportunity to get his foot in the door and gain some unforgettable experiences.
Both of these students have participated in a variety of biological projects including assisting with wildlife surveys, water quality monitoring, invasive species management, and public use activities. They have also gained experience working with handheld GPS units, creating biological databases, and data entry. Their two favorite activities have been riding in a helicopter over the Everglades and riding in the airboat out to various tree islands to conduct vegetation surveys.
With the help of these interns, the Refuge has been able to accomplish many of their biological projects that otherwise wouldn't be feasible due to limited resources. The Refuge is very appreciative of these hard-working interns and hopes to continue providing opportunities to future students of conservation.