At Defenders, the field conservation program is a multi-faceted department that works regionally to connect, restore, and advocate for wildlife and surrounding communities. Because there is no one way to intern in field conservation, here are five interns working around the country on a range of different essential projects:
What would you say is the main mission of your field conservation internship?
Lauren (Park City, UT) - Within my work, the goal is to protect as much land and as many animals as possible while collaborating with other nonprofits and indigenous communities. There's a lot of on-the-ground cooperation with local areas up here in Alaska.
Tory (Asheville, NC) - For me, I’ve had my hands in a lot of different baskets. A lot of what my work comprised is detecting where there are problem areas and where wildlife needs help. From this analysis, we can then engage with the public or other organizations to work on specific issues.
Maya (Wilmington, NC) - Justice has been an overarching value and mission of my internship. It’s very DEIJ-orientated and functions on understanding communities and their needs.
Holly (San Rafael, CA) – While a big part of my work has focused on field research and gathering information, in California we mostly work with other organizations to gather this information. Our mission is then being able to take the information and translate it into direct action.
Why did you choose to work in field conservation?
Isabella (Austin, TX) - A staff member at Defenders teaches at my university and I attended their career talk which was what inspired me to apply. The professor worked with ocelots which I was already interested in as well. I like that field conservation allows me to be out in the field but also participate in remote work – this makes it the best of both worlds!
Lauren (Park City, UT) – I wanted more experience in the world of conservation, and a new experience overall. I was nervous but excited about being in Alaska. I knew it was an amazing once in a lifetime type of opportunity that I had to take.
Tory (Asheville, NC) – For me, I chose field conservation to get more hands-on jobs with wildlife. I wanted to build my experience in real-world situations, assessing animals, and recording important data that will help efforts to conserve wildlife.
What are your goals for future conservation work?
Maya (Wilmington, NC) - I am applying to law school this fall so I plan to have a career in law, although I am open to many different areas of legal specialization and have not decided yet! No matter what field I end up in, I hope to be able to use my time and skills to make the world a better place and help secure more justice in this country.
Holly (San Rafael, CA) - My ideal career will be focused on nonprofit work within the realm of environmental law, specifically regarding wildlife conservation issues!
Isabella (Austin, TX) - My goals for a career in conservation work after I graduate is to be a geographer or field conservationist with the U.S Government, particularly with the National Park Service or Bureau of Land Management.
This blog was written by Ava Benton and Sydney St. Rose-Finear, Communications 2023 summer interns.