provided to Santiva Chronicle
Biology intern Haley Miller joined the team effort at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in January and plans to stay until early August 2020 as part of the refuge’s long-running internship program supported by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS).
Miller, originally from Haverhill, Mass., most recently worked as a research assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. In 2018, she graduated from Chapman University in California with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science and policy. Concurrently with her “Ding” internship, she is working on a master’s degree in forest resources at Clemson University in South Carolina.
“I love the enthusiasm I’ve seen from day one from refuge staff and volunteers,” said Miller. “Their acknowledgement of how special this place is and their dedication to continue to protect its habitat is inspiring.”
Miller looks forward to joining the refuge’s ongoing mangrove fertilization study and will begin working on her master’s thesis about understanding mangrove water use efficiency.
“My project’s main focus will be on mangrove physiology as it relates to growth within the fertilized study plots,” she said. “I’ve also enjoyed conducting wildlife surveys and the excitement of responding to calls to assess wildlife who potentially are in need of aid.”
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 creativity to the refuge team,” said supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland. “We are so grateful to the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society for making our internship program possible. Our interns help keep the refuge running in this era of slim staffing budgets.”
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 Birgie Miller, DDWS executive director, at 239-472-1100 ext. 4.