As a Student Conservation Association intern, you never know what new experiences each day will bring. I work for Delaware State Parks on the Children In Nature initiative, which is a statewide coalition working to get more kids outside. Children In Nature is a large coalition with expansive goals, and my job responsibilities are equally broad in scope.
I want to start off my blog by telling you about a day that serves as a nice microcosm for my internship as a whole. As soon as I looked at my schedule for the day in question, I knew I wanted to blog about it.
We started the day off with a meeting that had been scheduled months in advance, long before my internship began. I spent well over a week preparing notes and white papers. The attendees were: the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Director of the state’s largest environmental nonprofit, and the Chief of Delaware State Parks. After that meeting, I drove north to Brandywine Creek State Park, where I helped the park naturalists with a classroom outreach program at a local school. Field trips can be difficult to plan; so many teachers prefer inviting park staff out to their schools as an alternative.
I know what you might be thinking – isn’t this the Student Conservation Association? Shouldn’t I be out in the field, working on trail construction or hiking through a wilderness area? I’ve learned that there is way more to conservation than just fieldwork. A lot goes on behind the scenes to keep our parks open and running smoothly.
Delaware has 16 beautiful state parks, and countless opportunities for families and school groups to visit and learn about nature. The challenge is getting those children to the outdoors, which is the goal of Children In Nature. My job is to build connections between teachers, parents, kids and park staff and volunteers. I am excited to share my journey with you, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress over the next month!