As I got on the flight to Washington D.C. for the opening conference, I was feeling a little nervous. I was nervous about my internship and how it would turn out but also how I, as a graduating older student, would fit in with a predominantly younger group. The apprehension I felt at the start of the conference quickly faded as I started to meet my fellow interns and learn more about their individual journeys. Learning about each intern’s history reminded me of the trials we as Latinos must face, but it was also inspiring to hear about individuals pushing to fulfill their dreams in spite of the obstacles standing in their way. All the nerves I felt at the beginning of the conference, were replaced at the end with the confidence and inspiration that I will need to ensure my internship is a success personally and professionally.
My very first day in my assignment was far more than just an introduction to my position but it also gave me an indication of the type of work I would be doing throughout the summer. After a quick tour of the visitor’s center of the Ninigret Wildlife Refuge and meeting my supervisor, April Alix, I was tasked with assisting in a field trip of 3rd graders coming to visit the refuge. There were three separate classes that visited the refuge , one of which was a bilingual class with several students that spoke little to no English. I saw that the teachers were at times struggling to translate the information during the activities and I noticed that those students were not getting the same connection to nature as the native English speakers. These students traveled a long way to ge to the refuge and many will not have the means to visit again so I took it upon myself to make sure that just because English was their second language did not mean they would get a lesser experience of the refuge. I am grateful that I was there to provide an environment of learning for all students as well as becoming an example of how Latinos, like themselves, can take part in conserving their natural world.