KATY HAIMA

Faville Grove Intern 2007

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010

Current position: Policy Analyst, Seattle Planning Commission (Seattle, WA)

Favorite memory of the program: 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.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

The prairie is never the same two days in a row. It constantly evolves, grows, and regenerates. I observed these changes daily, in the smallest of details. My feelings about the prairie were also never the same two days in a row. Some days were idyllic; others were cold, wet, or chigger-infested. The realization that one could never know exactly and objectively where everything was in this place filled me with the possibility of exploration and inspired me daily. Although most of the prairies are now labeled on Google maps, at the time of my tenure they were not, which always brought a quote from Moby Dick to mind: “It is not down in any map; true places never are.”

I formed a more intimate and meaningful relationship with the prairie and my fellow interns. David and Roger were our role models on how love for place grounds us and influences how we exist on this Earth. My love for connecting people and nature through the medium of place inspired me to become a placemaking professional: I returned to school to earn a masters degree in urban planning.

I now live in a city where a clear day rewards you with view of Mt. Rainier rising out of the south; where the ocean, mountains, beaches and collide in grand, sweeping views; and where I work on the 20th floor of an office tower. But the lessons I learned from my summer on the prairie have formed the foundation of how I approach my part in making the world a better pace.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment:  While I have never again girdled an aspen or mowed fields of canary grass, I learned fundamental principles in ecology, botany, history, friendship, and agriculture that provide me with a more complete picture of how all the pieces fit together. While I do not deal directly with many of these issues, my role as a public policy adviser depends on my ability to think critically about systems and their resiliency. I did learn how to drive a manual transmission truck that summer, which comes in handy quite often.

STEPHANIE JUDGE

Prairie Partner Intern 2007

Stephanie Judge with her daughter, Ayla

Stephanie Judge with her daughter, Ayla

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010

Current position: Land Protection Specialist for The Nature Conservancy (Madison, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: 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 internship gave me so many firsts that are all excellent memories. I had never walked through an oak savanna until our first day on the job when Tom and Kathy Brock walked us through their wonderfully-restored Pleasant Valley Conservancy. I reconnected with wildlife, finding badger and fox dens out at The Prairie Enthusiasts Mounds View Sites, snakes and Blandings turtles elsewhere, and the thousands of salamanders that hatch out of Goose Pond around the end of July. It was hard, hot work, but it really pretty magical.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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 2011

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013

Current Position: Wildlife Technician, US Fish and Wildlife Service (South Kingston, RI)

Favorite memory of the program: 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.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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 2011

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013

Current Position: UW Veterinary Medical Student

Favorite memory of the program: One of the best parts about an internship in restoration ecology was the opportunity to get out of the city every day and immerse myself in a more natural environment - it was so refreshing!

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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 2013

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013

Current position: Research Assistant/Graduate Student, Chicago Botanic Garden & Northwestern University (Chicago, IL)

Favorite memory of the program: Surveying the one of the largest Lespedeza leptopstachya (prairie bush clover) populations at Westport Drumlin prairie!

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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. As such, the objectives of my research are to contribute to the understanding of ecological principles while also providing concrete results that will help to improve restoration outcomes.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: The internship provided me with a land-manager's prospective of restoration projects. That experience was helpful in shaping my current work bridging the gap between practitioners and academics.

 

GREGORY SKUPIEN

Prairie Partner Intern 2008

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008

Current Position: Curator of the Naturalist Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (Raleigh, NC)

Favorite memory of the program: We would often have theme days on which the interns would dress to fit the occasion. I remember "crazy hat day" vividly. We also made t-shirts colored with natural dyes. I particularly remember celebrating the Fourth of July by pulling buckthorn at the UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve adorned in red, white, and blue.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment:  I currently work as a museum curator and educator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The exhibit I curate receives about 70,000 visitors a year. I have the pleasure to interact with many of these visitors. In this capacity, I promote the use of native plants in landscaping and home gardening. I have worked with interns and other staff members to develop an adult coloring page and an educational cart that demonstrate how to create wildlife habitat using native species. I have also developed a Science Olympiad exam on the invasive species of North Carolina. Further, I have convinced my friends to plant an acre of native wildflowers and grasses on their farm.

DARREN LADWIG

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Prairie Partner Intern 2010

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 2011

Current Position: Wildlife Biologist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Friendship, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: Having the opportunity to work on numerous prairies and different habitats and get a hands-on perspective of what invasives control work entails! I also had a great team of other crew members that year and we had a good time working together daily. Also, having ice cream at lunch at Goose Pond was always nice. Thanks Mark and Sue!

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: The internship certainly gave me an edge when I had to compete and interview for my first DNR position as an LTE wildlife technician. Part of the interview was a hands-on practical exam which included identifying several invasive and native plants which I had learned during my internship.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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

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Prairie Partner Intern 2007

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008

Current Position: Credit Union National Association - Project Management Delivery Manager (Madison, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: Since then I haven't held a position that allowed me to be outside and connecting with the natural world as much. It was such an amazing opportunity to be outside learning about all the connections in the natural world and the impacts that humans have on the environment, both positive and negative and what things we can do to offset and prevent the negative things.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: I continue to volunteer with groups that work to make the environment a better place for everything that depends on it, plants, animals, humans. It's important to me to stay educated about these issues and do what I can to make the world a better, healthier place.

Dawn Hinebaugh 

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Prairie Partner Intern 2005

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002

Current position: Conservation biologist, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Madison, WI)

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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 2009

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010 (Law School, 2015)

Current position: Attorney at Peterson Johnson & Murray, S.C. (Madison, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: Being outside during the beautiful summer months with a great group of people, while learning new things about restoration ecology and nature.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: I tailored my remaining academic path to include coursework on ecology and environmental law.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: Learning 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 2015

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2013

Current position: Conservation Specialist, Natural Heritage Land Trust (Madison, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: 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.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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 2009

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2012

Current position: Eco-Hydrologist at CBEC (Davis, CA)

Favorite memory of the program: I loved being able to spend each day outside, pick Lars' brain (former Land Steward) and come up with games with the other interns to pass time. My favorite restoration experience was tackling the willows and cottonwoods in the buffer to Faville Prairie State Natural Area. Also, I'll never forget all the times that Justin screamed while almost stepping on fawns and turkeys in Faville Woods.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: Several years after interning, I became the Land Steward at Faville Grove. I was always an aspiring and "self-taught" naturalist and having the opportunity to work at Faville Grove full time was an incredible experience. It helped me figure out my future career path. Today, I use my engineering background and my experience at Faville Grove to design river and wetland rehabilitation projects.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: I use things that I learned during my internship every day. 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 2005

Current position: Botanist, 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 2014

Intended graduation from University of Wisconsin-Madison 2017

Current position: Undergraduate student studying Journalism & Environmental studies, UW-Madison (Madison, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: 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.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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. But it has made me want to work outside more. That whole summer I was so grateful to not be stuck in an office. I would love to get into a career that allows for being outside!

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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

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Prairie Partner Intern 2010

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Steven's Point, 2010

Current position: Owner, Hasheider Habitat & Invasive Management (Sauk City, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: 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!

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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!

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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 2007

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008

Current position: Iowa Department of Natural Resources - Natural Resources Technician (Mount Ayr, Iowa)

Favorite memory of the program: The best apple cider, still, I've ever had! Our crew rotated through 5 different partners/locations each week. One of those locations was Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton. They had homemade apple cider from apple trees growing on the property that were next to their prairie restoration sites. They had it thawing and ready for us to drink for lunch on a humid, 90 degree day in the middle of the summer. Life saver!

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: It completely shaped my path in life. I feel that internships are incredibly important for anyone in college to help them decide if the degree they are pursuing is the right choice and to define their expectations for after graduation. 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. By heading down the road of natural resource work, I ventured out after college taking seasonal positions in Montana, Colorado, and Iowa. I settled down in southern Iowa working for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: I still [use what I learned]! Restoration, wildlife, and natural resources work are truly my passions, and I'm not sure that I would have found that out about myself if it weren't for this internship. Some of my present job duties include a lot of habitat work: invasive species control, prescribed burning, timber stand improvements, and prairie planting. Those were all a part of the internship--except burning... The site managers all talked about prescribed fires and how great they were and made us all jealous and want to be on the fire line. Now I'm part of a crew that burns thousands of acres every year. One particular skill set that this internship gave me, fostered largely by Tom Brock the site manager at Pleasant Valley Conservancy, was plant identification. It was more of a deep appreciation for the plants themselves and everything you can learn about the entire area just by knowing the plants that are present. I credit Tom for helping me learn a large number of plants species in prairies and oak savannas. This made me fall in love all the more with those landscapes. Burr oaks will forever be my favorite tree.

NICK SIEVERT

Faville Grove Intern 2008

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2010

Current position: PhD Student in Natural Resources, University of Missouri (Columbia, MO)

Favorite memory of the program: 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.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: 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.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: 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

Goose Pond Intern 1998

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison 2000

Current position: Ecologist, Natural Heritage Conservation Program, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (Madison, WI)

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!

DREW HARRY

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Faville Grove Intern 2012

Graduated University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014

Current position: Faville Grove Sanctuary Land Steward, Madison Audubon Society (Lake Mills, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: Digging in wetland muck, seeing methane gas released, and running away thinking I was about to die.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: It had an enormous impact and completely changed the trajectory of my life for the better. Before the internship, I had no conception of the wondrous diversity present in my home state. I'm not sure I could have named more than a handful of native plants. I always thought that nature had long ago been removed from southern Wisconsin and replaced with cornfields. I soon became exposed to the treasures I overlooked.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: You could say the knowledge I learned applies a little.

MADDIE DUMAS

Prairie Partners Intern 2015

Graduated University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, 2011 (bachelor's), University of Wisconsin-Madison (master's)

Current position: Goose Pond Sanctuary Land Steward, Madison Audubon Society (Arlington, WI)

Favorite memory of the program: The Westport Drumlin covered in prairie violets, bird's foot violets, and bright yellow puccoon in mid May! Learning to identify the unique and lovely flora of our state.

Impact of the program on your academic and/or career path: The Prairie Partners internship led directly to my current position as Land Steward at Goose Pond Sanctuary. I enjoyed the Prairie Partners internship so much that the following summer I asked to come back to Goose Pond. I worked as the Goose Pond intern for a summer, before being lucky enough to get hired as the land steward.

How you used what you learned in the internship in future employment: Every day at work I use the plant identification knowledge, invasive species management techniques, and general ecological know-how that I learned hands-on from the internship!