Name: Talisa Gallegos Puentes
College: Regis University
Project Site: Blanca Wetlands
Background: Hi! My name is Talisa G. Puentes – I am super stoked to be able to say I am a new intern at the Blanca Wetlands site! I am originally from Rio Rancho, New Mexico but lived in Colorado for 4 years while going to school. I got my B.S. in Biology at Regis University, a Jesuit university that focused on community, progress, and service. It was there I realized that field work and public outreach are two things I must do with my life.
I grew up in a family of avid outdoorsmen so have been hunting and fishing since I was a kid. My family instilled in me a deep appreciation for the outdoors, and from that stemmed my desire to work in conservation! I was rather spoiled as a child, taking flyfishing trips with my dad and cousins or backpacking excursions to the nearest river or hot spring with friends. I have a personal obsession with water, woodland creatures and trees, and a professional dedication to keeping them around for as long as possible. I previously worked for the NM Game and Fish Dept. as a Conservation Officer in the Lincoln National Forest. Being able to work with wildlife up close and personal was an incredible experience, but I realized I wanted to be on the forefront of fighting conservation issues with knowledge and outreach rather than with an iron fist. I am incredibly excited to be able to do just that with the Environment for the Americas!
I have always been a talker, and my friends say I would pretty much talk to a wall if I had to. I love anything to do with being outdoors, and was that kid in high school that would try and convince the teacher to host class outside. In addition, my extended family of 24 first cousins – most of them younger than me – has given me a love for being around kids and teaching them new things. It works out nicely because they usually share my unreasonable enthusiasm for the most everyday entities. I worked as a teaching assistant all through college and discovered that I enjoy assisting and imparting knowledge to people of all ages – not just the tiny humans that I was mostly around before I left home. I am eager to continue the dynamic path I have been on towards learning, teaching, conserving and enjoying our environment!
Interests: I am a die-hard Detroit Tigers fan. I also enjoy hiking, FLYFISHING, playing basketball despite being vertically challenged, taking cliche nature photos, baking, ….so also eating :), Harry Potter, my pitbull puppy, laughing at my own jokes, shooting sports, and spending time with family!
Long term goals: I would like to eventually return to school for my Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology and continue working in conservation – possibly heading my own projects and research. I would later on like to teach science at a college level
Name: Anjelica Quintana
College: Adams State University
Major: Wildlife Biology, minor in Spanish
Project Site: Blanca Wetlands
Background: I was born and raised in Viejo San Acacio, a small farming town just a few miles west of San Luis, Colorado. I grew up in a culturally rich and Spanish speaking home and community. My younger siblings and I were raised by my single father, whom is not only a rancher, but also the science teacher at Centennial High School in San Luis. Our family’s ranch is our family’s main source of income, so the drought has greatly impacted our lives. I understood the importance of water to ranchers, but it was not until I had the opportunity of working with the Bureau of Land Management in La Jara, Colorado that I understood how critically important it was to government to have water as well.
I have had experience working with shorebirds for Jill Lucero and Sue Swift-Miller in the Blanca Wetlands. I highly respect the work that they do, and am honored to have had the opportunity working for them in the journey of making the Blanca Wetlands thrive with life. I am interested in the Shorebird Internship because I know how vitally important it is for us to protect our natural resources.While working with the Blanca Wetlands department of the Bureau of Land Management I was able to give presentations to, and work with, different youth crews from around the San Luis Valley. Being able to help the members of my community better understand the intensions and goals of the Bureau of Land Management was a great honor. I really enjoyed last summer even though the work was tough and stressful at times. Every day I returned home covered in mud, bug bites, and completely exhausted, but 100% proud of the work my crew and I accomplished. It takes hard work to make a place like the Blanca Wetlands continue to provide a safe place for shorebirds to rest or hatch their eggs. Snowy plovers are a perfect example of how extremely important the Blanca Wetlands are to the shore birds. It is an honor to be a part of an organization that does such amazing and important work.
Interests: My hobbies include weightlifting, hiking, camping, fishing, and being outdoors. I enjoy being involved in community activities and cultural events. I especially enjoy working with youth and helping them learn and understand new concepts.
Long-term Goals: My future career goals are being a part of helping to protect our natural resources and this position would help me get more of an understanding on how we can do this.