Conservation

Former Conservation Interns

Where are they now?

Learn more about the amazing young conservationists who have spent time at Corkscrew as Conservation Interns along the course of their career paths. Here's what our former interns are doing now and what they think of when they reflect back on their time living and working in the swamp. 

         

KEVIN MERRIGAN

Summer 2018

 

Current Position-

Undergraduate Student (Environmental Policy), Colorado College (Colorado Springs, CO)

     

MELISSA GONZALEZ

Spring/Summer 2018

 

Current Position- 

     

KELSIE BUXBAUM

Fall/Winter 2017-8

 

Current Position-

Wildlife Technician, Idaho Fish and Game

Favorite experience: Flying over Corkscrew for a Wood Stork survey, while the cypress were changing colors. It took my breath away!

 

Most essential piece of field gear: A hat, sunscreen, and a smile

 

Favorite swamp animal: Amphiuma

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Watching an alligator eating a turtle from the boardwalk

 

Most valuable new skill: Being able to handle and identify fish

 

Best advice for a future intern: Come ready to learn. There are so many wonderful people here ready to share what they know- try to take it all in.

 

HAYDEN DEAKINS

Fall/Winter 2017-8

 

Current Position-

NPS Biological Science Technician, Hot Springs National Park

Favorite experience: Watching a sunset from the backcountry observation deck

 

Most essential piece of field gear: Sunglasses and a hat

 

Biggest surprise about the job: How important vehicles are to land management in a wetland ecosystem

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Seeing a Florida Panther dash across a road at Panther Island

 

Most valuable new skill: How to select which herbicide for a specific plant based on its growth characteristics

 

Best advice for a future intern: Get yourself out of the Gator Hole on the weekends and go explore

 

SEBASTIAN PALACIO

Summer 2017

   

JOSEPH HUTCHINSON

Summer 2017

 

Current Position-

Undergraduate Student (Environmental Studies), Florida Gulf Coast University (Ft. Myers, FL)

   

COURTNEY KERN

Summer 2017

 

Current Position-

Shorebird Steward, Audubon Florida

Favorite experience: herp survey

 

Most essential piece of field gear: stick for fending off spiders

 

Most important lesson learned: don't be afraid to try new things!

 

Most valuable new skill: how to correctly record scientific data

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Everglades mink

 

"In a matter of months, I learned so many skills that will follow me throughout my life. The people I met and formed friendships with are people who I know I can rely heavily on. I continue to do volunteer work at Corkscrew because I love it so much!"

 

KRISTINA HSU

Spring/Summer 2017

 

Current Position-

M.S. Graduate Student in Geographic Information Science & Technology (University of Southern California)

   

NICK CHARLES

Winter/Spring 2017

 

Current Position-

M.S. Graduate Student (Environmental Studies), Florida International University (Miami, FL)

Favorite swamp animal: Swallow-tailed Kite

 

Favorite experience: surveying the Central Marsh Transect

 

Most essential piece of field gear: water bottle with ice

 

Biggest surprise about the job: the variety of responsibilities

 

Most important lesson learned: take care of your physiological needs in the heat

 

"Take as many opportunities that are presented to you as possible in this internship to learn and grow as a professional."

CONNOR PARENTI

Fall/Winter 2016-7

 

Current Position-

Rio Grande Turkey Technician, Lousiana State University

Favorite experience: seeing a Florida Panther

 

Most essential piece of field gear: a good hat

 

Favorite swamp animal: Crested Caracara

 

Most important lesson learned: always make a checklist

 

If someone is coming to live in The Gator Hole they should be sure to pack: lots of books

 

KATRINA FERNALD

Fall/Winter 2016-7

 

Current Position-

Piping Polver Technician, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Favorite experience: rediscovering the Central Marsh Transect

 

Biggest surprise about the job: the lasting satisfaction after a hard day at work

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

 

Most valuable new skill: operating and maintaining a variety of vehicles

 

Most important lesson learned: you can accomplish more than you think possible if you have confidence in your own abilities

 

"This internship gave me the skills, and more importantly the confidence, to go after the jobs I wanted"

 

DANIELLE DRUMHELLER

Spring/Summer 2016

 

Current Position-

M.S. Student, Florida Atlantic University

Favorite experience: swamp walk!

 

Biggest surprise about the job: the amount of independence I would have

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: meeting panthers on my way out to do laundry :)

 

Most valuable new skills: plant identification and navigation

 

Favorite swamp animal: Swallow-tailed kite

 

Best advice for a future intern: Ask as many questions as you can. You will have an amazing group of mentors and you are here to learn!

 

LAUREN GARSTKA

Spring/Summer 2016

 

Current Position-

Restoration Technician, Soil Ecology and Restoration Group, San Diego State University

Favorite experience: Wood Stork monitoring flight

Most essential piece of field gear: extra water bottles!!

Most valuable new skill: basic maintenance on equipment

 

Biggest surprise about the job: how many different opportunities/things we were able to do and be a part of.

 

Favorite swamp animal: Snowy Egret

 

Most important lesson learned: Jump at every opportunity, even if you're afraid of it because you never know when you'll get a second chance.

.

BRIAN EACHUS

Fall/Winter 2015-6

 

Current Position-

Fisheries Research & Health Technician, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (Logan, UT)

Most essential piece of field gear: more water than you think you need!
 

Biggest surprise about the job: the wide range of experiences offered
 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Florida Panther
 

Favorite swamp animal: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

Most valuable new skill: training and supervising volunteer crews with projects (invasive species removal)
 

"Never be afraid to ask questions if you are uncertain about a task or when you want to learn and understand more about a project or the area you are working in."

 

MELCOLM CRUTCHFIELD

Fall/Winter 2015-6

 

Current Position-

Exotic Plant Removal Technician, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

Favorite swamp animal: Little Blue Heron

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: seeing a Sora

 

Most important lesson learned: fire ants bite

 

Most valuable new skill: navigation

 

Biggest surprise about the job: the pure enjoyment

 

"This internship had wonderful elements from diversity, leadership development to personal responsibilities. Moreover, I believe that whoever completes it becomes part of a legacy of future conservationists, educators, and researchers."

 

MATT BURKE

Summer 2016

 

Current Position-

Undergraduate, Clemson University

Favorite experience: getting to drive the swamp buggy

 

Most essential piece of field gear: a good pair of boots (waterproof if possible, even though it probably won't matter) as you spend a lot of time walking around in the swamp

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Florida Black Bear

 

Favorite swamp animal: Alligator- never get tired of seeing them

 

Most important lesson learned: If you're not 100% sure if you're doing something correctly, it's probably wrong and you should probably ask for help.

 

EMILY MCCALL

Spring/Summer 2015

 

Current Position-

Wildlife Technician, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Most essential piece of field gear: a good sense of humor! And enough water

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: finding a scorpion tangled in my hair after a day of work

 

Favorite swamp plant: Swamp Hibiscus (Hibiscus coccineus)

 

Most valuable new skill: learning invasive species on the go

 

"See and learn about the Everglades as much as possible, they are literally one of a kind! And don't poke a gator with a stick!"

 

EVAN BARRIENTOS

Spring/Summer 2015

 

Current Position-

Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Audubon Rockies

Favorite experience: prescribed fire

Most essential piece of field gear: rubber boots

Favorite swamp plant/animal: river otter

 

Advice for future interns: Explore the Sanctuary and surrounding areas as much as possible. Also, read "A Land Remembered."

 

JENNIFER BREEN

Fall/Winter 2014-5

 

Current Position-

M.S. Student, Landscape Architecture-Restoration Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Biggest surprise about the job: it went by too quickly

 

Most essential pieces of field gear: machete, water bottle

Best wildlife sighting: panther!

 

"This internship allows you to push yourself, to work with new people, and to really get out of your comfort zone to try new things. Working at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has been one of my favorite internships and I would go back in a heartbeat!"

 

JACOB ZETZER

Winter/Spring 2014

 

Current Position-

Natural Resource Technician, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife

Favorite experience: Being able to explore the property to its fullest extent, and seeing things most people who visit the sanctuary do not get to see

 

Most essential piece of field gear: Long-sleeved shirt, it will protect you from the sun and poison ivy

 

Most memorable wildlife sighting: Bear cubs

 

Most important lesson learned: Be prepared for anything

 

Best advice for a future intern: Enjoy the experience, hard work is rewarding in the end. Go explore Naples, Ft. Myers, and surrounding areas. There are numerous parks and sights to see.

 

EMILY UHLMANN

Winter/Spring 2014

 

Park Ranger, Highlands Hammock State Park (Florida)

Most valuable new skill: everything having to do with prescribed fire

Best wildlife sighting: black bear cubs on the boardwalk!

Most important lesson learned: be very careful when using a chainsaw on a tree with poison ivy vine...

 

Favorite experience: swamp walks and seeing what awesome critters we "captured" with our trail cameras

 

Favorite swamp plant: buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

 

HANA NARDI

Fall/Winter 2013-4

 

Current Position-

Fisheries & Wildlife Biological Scientist II (Babcock Webb Wildlife Management Area), Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Favorite experience: setting up camera trap array

 

Biggest surprise about the job: frequent wildlife sightings

 

Favorite swamp plant: Swamp Hibiscus

 

Most valuable new skill: Swamp buggy operation

 

"My internship at CSS was a key stepping stone in my career as a wildlife biologist in Florida. I can't say enough about how supportive everyone was and how much I took away from the experience."

 

GREG KOSIK

Fall/Winter 2013-4

 

Current Position: Program Specialist, University of Georgia - Camp Jekyll

Most valuable new skill: learning about general land management practices- I’ve definitely had to reflect back on what I learned during this internship in each job I’ve had after

Most essential piece of field gear: pocket knife

Best wildlife sighting: an adult male panther...SO COOL!!!!

Biggest surprise about the job: how much fun it would be!!!
 

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