provided to Santiva Chronicle
On Sept. 2, education intern Hannah Pauly joined the team at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island to help with staffing shortages this school year, thanks to funding from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS).
Pauly, a Chicago native, graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in May with a bachelor of science degree in community and environmental sociology with a certificate in sustainability. For a previous internship, she worked in environmental education at the Madison Children’s Museum. .
“It’s really exciting to run into new animals every day at the refuge and learn more about them,” said Pauly. “I’m really looking forward to student field trip days. I can’t wait to take the kids outside so that they can explore the refuge and see the wildlife.”
She will assist refuge conservation educator Sara Hallas with school-year programming through May 2020. The education team has scheduled 58 field trips to the refuge for this school year.
DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The refuge supports interns with free housing.
“Our interns bring youthful energy, enthusiasm, and freshness to the refuge team,” said supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland. “At the same time, the program gives students and recent graduates an opportunity to learn hands-on about the environment and refuge operations while strengthening their ethic of conservation stewardship.
For more information about the refuge’s internship programs, contact Westland at 239-472-1100 ext. 237. To learn about supporting the refuge intern program, contact Lynnae Messina, DDWS associate director, at 239-472-1100 ext. 233.