provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Becca Parker recently joined the team at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, thanks to funding through the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. She fills the role of education intern for the refuge’s WoW (Wildlife on Wheels) mobile classroom and other educational “Ding” programs this school year.
Born in Mullica Hill, N.J., Parker was teaching at a Quaker school in her hometown before arriving here in August. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., in December as an environmental studies major with a concentration in geosciences.
“Becca brings some language and strong science skills to the position, and is already a great asset,” said “Ding” Darling Urban Education Leader Melissa Maher. “Our first priority with WoW outreach is to travel to Title 1 schools and other venues where kids and adults don’t have the opportunity to visit the refuge.”
“I am particularly looking forward to working with children,” said Parker. “The curiosity and earnest nature of young people is so inspiring; I often feel that they have more to teach me than I could possibly teach them. I hope I can teach these kids more about nature and the beauty that surrounds them as this may help to influence their passions and priorities as they continue to learn and grow as people.”
A first-timer to Florida, Parker is already appreciating the change in climate and habitat. “I am really loving Sanibel,” she said. “I’ve found the warm weather, beautiful scenery, wildlife, and sunshine make me feel so happy. I could really see myself living in Florida long term. I love all the plants and animals I can see here at the refuge, and I am really touched by how welcoming and friendly everyone is.”
DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. For more information about the refuge’s internship programs and supporting them, contact Sierra Hoisington, DDWS associate executive director, at 239-472-1100 ext. 233.