I started my internship at Wild South after graduating from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. My love of nature first developed in the Pacific Northwest, where I was born, and grew with lots of encouragement from my parents.
Growing up I’ve lived in the Northwest, Southwest, and Midwest, and each area of the country had beautiful and yet uniquely different natural areas to explore. Who could resist the urge to know more about all of that brilliant diversity, and to help protect it?
Interning at a smaller non-profit gave me the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, from educational to scientific. I not only got a feel for many of the different aspects of a well-working non-profit- I got to participate in them. During my internship Ben also arranged for me to work with North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission on a number of biological surveys. This greatly broadened my experience and helped me land my current job as a biological field technician. It also allowed for a perspective beyond that of the non-profit. I hope to start grad school in a couple years after gaining more field experience and finally getting around to taking the GRE.
I began interning for Wild South the summer before my last semester at UNC-Asheville. As an environmental science major, having already interned with the national park service, I was interested in what it was like to work with a small environmental non-profit.
From being in the office, attending meetings, events and a staff retreat I was able to have an inside look at the dedication and team work required for an organization like this to productively function. Not only that, but Wild South also gave me the opportunity to work closely with the NC Wildlife Commission participating in numerous wildlife surveys including work with bats, terrestrial salamanders and hellbenders.
Working closely with Wild South has provided me with new ideas and experience which will help me in choosing and being considered for future jobs in environmental science.
Tawnee is pursuing her Master of Environmental Management degree at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. She received her B.A. from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, where she gained valuable professional experience working with students, faculty, staff, and administration as the Student Liaison to the University’s Board of Trustees.
Here, Tawnee learned how clear communication can bridge differing interests and significantly contribute toward smooth and effective change. She spent her summers restoring degraded habitats in New Zealand; kayaking and learning about algae and forest ecosystems at the University of Michigan Biological Station; living in a treehouse in the Vermont wilderness; tracking poison dart frogs in the Costa Rican rainforest; and monitoring cetaceans off the Osa Peninsula.
Tawnee was excited to act as the Grandfather National Scenic Area Campaign’s communications intern this summer. Working alongside local stakeholders, she managed communications and outreach for the grassroots campaign to secure a National Scenic Area designation for 25,000 acres of the Pisgah National Forest. She had a fantastic time getting to know the communities surrounding the proposed GNSA, camping and hiking along some of the beautiful trails and overlooks in the Blowing Rock area, and designing the GNSA Campaign’s website and outreach materials. Not a bad way to experience the Wild South!