San Diego, California

Sue, Cassy, Mandy, Gibran and I arrived in San Diego a couple days before all the interns. We spent that time preparing, eating and a little more preparing to ensure we had everything set for the interns and the training. Then finally Thursday morning came and the interns started dropping in. We greeted them, handed them their VIP bracelets (it was just a bracelet to show the front staff they had a room here) and sent them to their rooms. Once everyone delivered their luggage to their room, we were on our way to our first birding adventure. We ate outside at Cabrillo National Monument and it was beautiful. The sun was shining, boats glided across the water and we all began to build our friendships. After some time, we went inside one of the buildings and reviewed the tools every birder requires, a bird guide and binoculars. Then we went on our fist birding walk. We hiked a bit through the park, looked at the birds, counted them and admired the way they soared proudly through the sky. That afternoon really set the tone for the rest of the trip. It was also one of the many times I fell in love with birding during that trip. During the whole week, we were educated on many different subjects. How to ID birds, macro-invertebrates, how to lead bird walks, how to apply for a federal job and why the conservation of birds is so important just to name a few. However, the most important lesson I learned, was why I became a conservationist in the first place. Because I love nature!! The past semester was difficult for me. I struggled to find the motivation to do well in my classes. I was ready to move away from serving, but I felt like I would never obtain the skills to find a job in my field. Luckily I found this internship. And the skills and connections I make during this program are going to be invaluable. And I may have found a passion for educating people on the importance of nature.

The view from the first day.

Aileen Palma
aileen24palma@yahoo.com
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