KATY HAIMA

Faville Grove Intern ‘07

Policy Analyst, Seattle Planning Commission

My favorite memory is from sitting in the dappled shade of a bur oak tree with my fellow interns after a hard days work eradicating wild parsnips. That was the summer that my relationship with nature went from enjoying nature to realizing my place in it, and my dependence on it. I learned that the prairie was an infinitely fascinating place, where the majesty of spreading bur oaks instilled as much awe as the precise detail of a fringed orchid, or how purple my hands turned after collecting spiderwort seeds for an afternoon.

STEPHANIE JUDGE

Prairie Partner Intern ‘07

Land Protection Specialist for The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Stephanie Judge with her daughter, Ayla

Stephanie Judge with her daughter, Ayla

I don’t have a single favorite memory because I look back at the whole experience fondly. I had the privilege of growing up in the woods and waters of Central Wisconsin along the banks of the Wisconsin River. I was outside everyday as a kid, but as I got older and completed my first college degree (BA-2003-Journalism & Political Science at UW-Madison), I’d moved away from my roots. The Audubon internship got me back outside and back in nature in a new region with which I was much less familiar. The Audubon restoration ecology internship was one of the most formative and valuable experiences of my life. It laid the foundation that supported all of my later academic work in Landscape Architecture and the knowledge I gained that summer continues to inform my career today. I only took one day off during that summer of 2007, and it was to stop by TNC to drop off my resume. I knew I wanted to work for TNC, that they’d offered a work-study position for the previous academic year, and that with the Audubon experience under my belt, I was much better equipped to apply and better suited for a job. I started at the Conservancy as a work-study student in October of 2007 and have been with TNC since. It’s hard to quantify what I learned during the internship because I learned so much, and that knowledge is so intertwined in everything I do today. My work for TNC brings me to many different landscapes where I interact with people from all different backgrounds who have questions about their land and how to handle various challenges. The Audubon internship gave me real-world experience that taught me hundreds of native plants, and of course so many invasive plants too. Until this internship, I was blissfully ignorant of the prevalence and ravages of invasive plants like garlic mustard, reed canary grass and all the others. After the internship, I was well-prepared to accurately identify non-native plants and suggest a range of control mechanisms. I also had a really good handle on a effective restoration strategies for prairies, savannas, woodlands and wetlands. Besides learning so much, I also met great people like Mark and Sue Martin, who are so very admirable for their excellent and ongoing work at Goose Pond and beyond.

JOSH SEIBEL

Faville Grove Intern ‘11

Current Position: US Fish and Wildlife Service in Rhode Island- Wildlife Technician

My favorite memory is a series of memories over the season. I remember the prairie was constantly under change during the growing season. It was always so incredible to see the multitude of different colored flowers every morning as work started but even more amazingly to be able to watch the colors change over the course of the entire season. It helped to reinforce that the prairie isn't just one momentary image but that it's alive and continually changing and growing. It played a huge part on my career path. In a general sense it was the stepping stone that gave me the experience and knowledge to apply for subsequent wildlife field jobs. More specifically I got to assist with a bird survey that was conducted at Faville Grove and because of that, I considered birds as a concentration for my wildlife degree. I've gone on since to make birds my career passion. Yes and I still do. This was my first field job in this career and I learned a lot of how to best work under various weather, insect and plant conditions. More importantly, how to work with other people under these conditions and always keep a positive attitude and stay a little silly to get work accomplished.

JENNA MOTZ

Faville Grove Intern’11

Current Position: UW Veterinary Medical Student

While I no longer work in restoration ecology, my summer at Faville Grove played a large role in shaping my perspective on how ecosystem health can impact individual health. While I now focus more on wildlife and companion animal medicine, I know that no one exists in a vacuum - we are all a reflection of our environment.

My internship was my first exposure to bird identification and I have become an avid birder since then. I had no idea how many different species there are! Afterwards, I began volunteering at the Dane County Humane Society's Wildlife Center, and the birds are my absolute favorite patients.

JACOB ZELDIN

Prairie Partner Intern ‘13

Current Position: Research Assistant/Graduate Student - Chicago Botanic Garden & Northwestern University

The restoration ecology internship helped to shape the focus of my graduate research at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Though my research is rooted in theoretical ecology, my experience as a MAS intern helped guide my work into a more applicable framework. My favorite memory of the internship was surveying one of the largest Lespedeza leptopstachya (prairie bush clover) populations at Westport Drumlin prairie!

GREGORY SKUPIEN

Prairie Partner Intern ‘08

Current Position: Curator of the Naturalist Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

The internship gave me an appreciation for field work. After finishing the internship, I spent the better part of the next five years conducting field research. The internship also helped shape my personal interests and research objectives. In 2015 I completed my M.S. in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development.

DARREN LADWIG

Prairie Partner Intern ‘10

Current Position: Wisconsin DNR- Wildlife Biologist

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I look at my summer as an intern as the building blocks of my ecological background for dealing with Wisconsin plant and animal communities. I constantly deal with invasive species as part of my job when managing state-owned lands. Having the background and knowledge to identify and treat them appropriately is a necessity for doing this work. Being able to recognize native plants also helps to categorize certain habitat types and what these areas may have looked like pre-settlement.

CHELSEA STATZ

Prairie Partner Intern ‘07

Current Position: Credit Union National Association - Project Management Delivery Manager

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I think it has had an impact on my career path, I had already selected Conservation Biology as my major, but after the internship I became more interested in Ecosystem Management. And, although, I do not manage ecosystems today the skills I learned apply directly to the job I do today.

Dawn Hinebaugh 

Prairie Partner Intern ‘05

Conservation biologist

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I think it was serendipity that landed me an internship in 2000 and it all started with a discussion about birds with Mark Martin.  Regardless, I was part of a great, hard-working crew that travelled around to different natural areas to work.  We learned to identify and control invasives, counted silphiums and learned these were the host plant of the rare silphium borer moth, helped with erosion control, collected native seeds, and helped plant more acres of grassland.  This work most certainly complemented my university training and helped solidify a conservation ethic in me that I carry to this day. It also reinforced the sense of place that is Wisconsin to me.  Today, as a conservation biologist with the DNR in Madison, I use the skills I learned as an MAS intern when helping private landowners with restoration projects and in my work in helping to protect Wisconsin’s SNA, which includes Goose Pond and Faville Prairie where I worked as an intern in that serendipitous summer of 2000. 

JOHN PINZL

Faville Groove Intern ‘09

Attorney at Peterson Johnson & Murray, S.C.

Being outside during the beautiful summer months with a great group of people, while learning new things about restoration ecology and nature. Subsequently, I tailored my remaining academic path to include coursework on ecology and environmental law. Being able to learn about the wide variety of connections people share with Wisconsin and its variety of places has enabled me to better learn what underlies peoples' passions for their home and where they live.

TONY ABATE

Prairie Partner Intern ‘15

Natural Heritage Land Trust, Conservation Specialist

The day I decided to welcome sweat. Until then, my clothes felt gross, my socks sloshed in my boots, and the days crawled along forever. Wet socks are still a drag, but liberating myself from that brain trap allowed me to enjoy working hard and relish the long summer days in the prairie. My internship kindled the land ethic I grew up with. Immediately following that summer, I was fortunate to work for two years as the Goose Pond land steward. Today, I work for another Prairie Partner: Natural Heritage Land Trust. I do! Not only did the internship foster MY land and sweat ethic, I have been involved in the hiring and supervising of the four intern crews since, which allows me to share my experiences and tips for success.

MATTHEW WEBER

Faville Grove Intern ‘09

Eco-Hydrologist at CBEC

I loved being able to spend each day outside. The MAS internship provides an intense immersion into ecosystems (e.g., species ID, phenology, restoration ecology...etc.). I walked away forever changed in how I experience the world. When I was the Land Steward at Faville Grove, nearly every intern would bring up a story about noticing a "new" plant or bird in their hometown. They were finally seeing something that was always there but was hidden to their perception. That's what the MAS internship does. It pulls back the covers and allows you to notice the different species that inhabit an ecosystem and interpret the changes that are occurring. I take that with me wherever I go.

KEVIN DOYLE

Prairie Partner Intern ‘05

Botanist at Department of Natural Resources

For me, the internship was an introduction to field work: invasive species control, seed collection, prescribed fire, plant identification, rare species monitoring, parsnip burns, and poison ivy rashes. But it was also an introduction to what high quality prairies and savannas look like and why it’s so important to manage and protect them. It was a crash course in the technical and philosophical sides of conservation. And what a place to learn! Goose Pond, Faville Grove, Pleasant Valley Savanna, and the other sites we worked at were the best classrooms in southern Wisconsin. Out on the prairie I built friendships that I maintain to this day and learned from professionals that are now colleagues.  Every job I have had since then has been an offshoot of that summer with MAS.  Kevin is a botanist with the Bureau with a focus on rare plants.

SANDRA KINZER

Faville Groove Intern ‘14

UW Madison Student- Journalism & Environmental studies

It was an everyday occurrence for us to ask Matt (the steward in 2014) to identify plants for us, as we wanted to learn and get better at recognizing plants. One day, Nate (it was probably Nate, anyways) held up a really small piece of a plant and asked “hey Matt what’s this?” and surprisingly Matt was able to identify it. So then we started breaking off tinier and tinier pieces of plants, and holding them up for Matt to identify. A part of a stem, a square millimeter of leaf. At this point we’re all laughing uncontrollably, because it’s getting ridiculous. Eventually he probably said “whatever, guys” and walked away as we finished laughing. I think it made me realize I didn’t want to be a land steward like Matt, just because of the monotony of the weed-pulling and brush-cutting at times... but also instilled in me a curiosity for wanting to know what every plant is! So now I am known to my family as the botanist, even though I don’t study botany. I worked on a farm the next couple summers, and the plant ID I did in this internship definitely made me more interested in the varieties of produce we were growing and selling, and how they were grown, and comparing the management of a farm with managing a restored prairie.

TYLER HASHEIDER

Prairie Partner Intern ‘10

Owner of Hasheider Habitat & Invasive Management

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There were so many awesome memories from that summer, it's impossible to choose. I really enjoyed talking to the other interns and volunteers/managers at all the properties we worked at. I tried to soak in as much information and enjoyment as I could that summer. We had beautiful days, we had some rough weather days, we shared a lot of knowledge, got a lot done, and had a lot of laughs! I believe so. It was a highlight of my resume coming out of college. I was contacted by a few restoration companies that liked the fact I had worked in restoration, especially prairies. I accepted a position about 4 days into my job search at a company that was working a large prairie restoration project in central Illinois. With my knowledge of prairie species as well as some of the technical skills that were learned/enhanced by my internship, I was able to rise to Field Manager for the company. Eventually I left that position to start my own company, Hasheider Habitat & Invasive Management, doing ecological restoration focusing on southern Wisconsin (but covering the whole state and neighbor states). I'm very pleased to say Hasheider Habitat will be celebrating its fifth year of operation in April! The internship opened a lot of doors, and the path I chose has led me to see many incredible areas that most people don't get to see. Our work allows us to go beyond what you can see from the road. It has given me the chance to make many new friends who have a passion for creating better habitat and better wildlife. You can't just talk to any random person about how important oak regeneration is or the value of a prairie versus agriculture fields or residential lots without looking a little crazy, unless the other person shares interest in ecology or sound land stewardship! The identification of species has been very important in continuing to do ecological restoration. Some of the removal methods we used at the internship I still use today.

ANDY KELLNER

Prairie Partner Intern ‘07

Current Position: Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Natural Resources Technician

The Madison Audubon Internship focused my college degree (from Zoology to Biological Aspects of Conservation) and inspired a passion in me for botany and habitat work. I learned a great deal about prairie and oak savanna landscapes and tried to glean as much knowledge as I could from the vast amount of experience of the site managers.

NICK SIEVERT

Faville Grove Intern ‘08

University of Missouri, PhD Student in Natural Resources

Bonding with the other interns, spending time in the beautiful prairies, and developing an understanding of how responsible, positive relationships between humans and the natural world can be formed are my fondest memories of the internship. The internship was my first job working in conservation and natural resources. Without the internship I'm not sure how I would have gotten my foot in the door of the profession, and I'm not sure that I would have become as passionate or as dedicated without the internship experience. The experience I gained through the internship helped me land a student hourly position in the Endangered Resources Bureau of the Wisconsin DNR, then a contract position with them working on Hine's emerald dragonflies. After finishing undergrad I got a MS position at the University of Missouri working on stream fish vulnerability assessment and conservation planning and stayed on for a PhD looking at the effects of climate change and flow alterations on stream fish communities. The internship offered a unique perspective on both conservation and science that has served me well at all of my stops since. The internship definitely helped me develop a better understanding of how ecosystems function and that understanding has helped me in my work since the internship. The long, hot days pulling wild parsnip definitely helped me become more patient and willing to work in tough conditions.

AMY STAFFEN

Prairie Partner Intern ‘98

Ecologist, Natural Heritage Conservation Program

I was hired as a Goose Pond Intern -- my first real job in my newly chosen profession of restoration ecology.  This complemented my pursuit of a master’s degree in Landscape Architecture at UW-Madison, which I completed in 2000.  During my internship, I gained a broad range of practical knowledge relating to prairie planting, identification and life history of native species, and control of invasive species, all of which proved invaluable during my jobs with the DNR SNA crew, The Nature Conservancy, and The Prairie Enthusiasts, where I used the exact same skills.  As interns, we worked with a variety of conservation non-profit partners, helping me understand the vital role that these groups play in Wisconsin’s conservation community, and allowing me to make the first of many professional connections that I continue to tap to this day.  Today, as an ecologist with the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, I know that the knowledge and relationships that I gained during my Goose Pond Internship provided a springboard for my career.  On a personal level, the internship helped me appreciate the value of physical labor in a beautiful natural setting.  I never slept better and food and beer never tasted better than after a hard-day’s work in the field.  Most importantly, I cannot overstate the inspiration and peace that one finds when working with nature and sharing that experience with the wonderful people that are drawn to that type of work!