Building a More Diverse Wildlife Conservation Workforce


CDIP: A Proud Collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABOVE: 2015 Career Discovery Internship Program participants preparing to kayak at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

Each year, through the Career Discovery Internship Program (CDIP), we work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to connect young conservationists of diverse background to hands-on service experiences at wildlife refuges across the country.

The participants, a passionate and talented bunch from all over the U.S.A., gather in May for a week of orientation and training at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Philadelphia, then disperse throughout the refuge system to begin summer-long internships at places like the Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center in New Mexico, Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, and Togiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

With the CDIP program, founded in partnership between SCA and USFWS in 2008, we seek to strengthen the public lands workforce by helping it become as wonderfully diverse as the country that it serves. It’s one more way that we’re working to change the face of conservation.

See below for images from this year’s orientation session, happening this week in Philadelphia. Keep an eye on this post over the next few days, as we’ll be adding new photos through the end of the week.ABOVE: David Castro, member of the CDIP class of 2015, on what he’s learned so far at this week’s training session at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. David grew up in Chicago, and he’ll spend his summer as an SCA intern at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 

ABOVE: Angel Bai shares what she’s learned this week. She’s from Cleveland and she’ll spend her summer serving at Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge. 

2015 CDIP Intern Aura Muniz (University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez) handles a net gun, used to capture water fowl.

Buckling down for a challenge project. 

2015 CDIP Interns inspect a fin whale skull brought to Heinz a few weeks ago by a local who found it near the mouth of the Delaware River. Records indicate the cetacean was struck and killed by a passing ship several years ago. It was buried nearby and recent storms may have uncovered the skull, which officials say will likely be displayed at the refuge. 

Zone Officer James Britt introduces a group of CDIP interns to the concept of refuge law enforcement, from illegal poaching to habitat destruction. 

Group pic!

All geared up for kayaking.

Paddle practice!