Five Things I’ve Learned as a Conservation Intern
1. Busy bees. To create and maintain a land trust, lots of money, time, and energy is required. Within my first week as an intern at Boothbay Region Land Trust, I quickly learned how important donors, members, and volunteers are. I was amazed at how willing volunteers were to come in early (sometimes as early as 6 a.m.!) to start working on projects. Whether it is trail maintenance, planning events, or attending meetings, there is always something going on, and everyone who is affiliated with BRLT is always busy.
2. All forms of labor are created equal. Before this internship, I think I took for granted the opportunity to hike pieces of land. I’ve learned that my ability to do so is the result of not only the hard labor that comes with clearing trails and caring for a piece of land, but also work that occurs at the desk. There are management plans to draft, nature resource inventories to compile, and a lot of planning and coordinating with others. Both outdoor and indoor work are crucial to caring for the land.
“Whether it is trail maintenance, planning events, or attending meetings, there is always something going on, and everyone who is affiliated with BRLT is always busy.”
3. For me, outdoor work > indoor work. The idea of wanting to work outside rather than inside has been reinforced throu
gh this internship. For me, working outside makes the time go faster, I feel more accomplished after completing physical tasks, and I get a good workout, too! I am getting paid to explore new places and do trail maintenance. I mean, how incredible is that?
4. Building relationships. I’ve also learned about the importance of building relationships with others within a land trust—from working with volunteers to meeting members of the board of directors. I’ve also found many people who I met within the land trust to be very interesting. Many people have told me a quick blurb about their career or life and they are all so unique.
“The people at BRLT are hard workers, flexible, and they truly want me to get the best possible experience I can this summer.”
5. Work environments. Lastly, I’ve learned that not all workplaces have to be stressful, tense, or mentally draining. While there are projects to do and tasks to complete, it is important to work with care, budget your time, and do the best that you possibly can. The people I’m working with at BRLT are some of the best people I have ever worked with. They are hard workers, flexible, and they truly want me to get the best possible experience I can this summer. I truly appreciate that and this experience wholeheartedly.
Colleen Hendricks is in her third year at the University of Maine at Machias majoring in Environmental Studies with a minor in Biology. Colleen is working for Boothbay Region Land Trust this summer.