Guest blogger Lucia Portillo-Maldonado shares her experiences interning at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and what inspires her to return year after year.
This summer will be my fourth summer working at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. As a Hispanic Access Foundation intern I know that I will have a unique experience. This is my first summer doing community outreach and working with young students in nearby elementary schools. I’ve assisted with planning summer camp programs and helped organize some events here at the refuge. Within my first week of my internship I helped with a family fishing day event. Over one hundred guests participated, some of which included my own family.
Throughout the years, I’ve enjoyed working at John Heinz with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Environmental conservation and preservation are topics that I am very passionate about and I hope to continue to learn more throughout this internship. Promoting environmental stewardship is also something that I enjoy doing. I am excited to be involved in a new project at my refuge that will help the public be aware of the fact that they have a National Wildlife Refuge close by. I will be assisting with creating a new bus stop close to our refuge, that will include a seating area, a map of the refuge, and a small pollinator garden. Our goal is to inform the public of how close the refuge is and to highlight activities that we have to offer. Below are a couple pictures of what the bus stop currently looks like.
I will also be helping with the repairing the pollinator garden at our refuge. Our pollinator garden will be reconstructed this summer and I will be assisting with that project. Some ideas I’ve had so far for Latino Conservation week is to arrange for students in north Philadelphia to come to our refuge and get involved in activities such as archery, fishing, hiking, and kayaking. I think it would be very beneficial for students to get outside of their neighborhoods and their comfort zones. It will give them a chance to see how many other places are available to them. Having access to open green space is something that is very important and everyone deserves.