“A bird sitting on a branch is not afraid of the branch breaking,because its trust is not on the branch but on its wings.”

A quote that not only gave me the courage not only to apply for this opportunity, but also helps me to face every day.

collageHow could I possibly pass up a trip to California as well as a chance to spread my wings and soar into something so miraculous? Training was one of the most eye opening experiences for me.  Going into training I was not too sure what I had got myself into. I quickly learned I was the youngest of the bunch, but I did not let that stop me. I learned more in a week than I feel I sometimes learn in a semester of college. Each day was filled with more knowledge than what my head can hold but being home I know that it will all pay off once I am out in the field.

I consumed so much food, most of it I had no idea even existed– including Mochi. Training was a great bonding experience for all of us involved including those we met along the way. More often times than not I feel as though I know enough. However, I gained perspective. I learned what elements make up the identity of a bird, the impact a tide has, what hazards birds are faced with, the behavior of a bird, how to properly survey a bird and what data to collect from it, and so much more. I thought our week was going to be spent solely on bird identification, my perspective quickly shifted once elements of community and leadership was also introduced. Practicing with Rick Hanks (former manager of the California Coastal National Monument) and Sue Bonfield (Environment for the America’s Executive Director) on proper introductions was something I will forever cherish. It not only helped expand my voice but also gave me confidence. Receiving the opportunity to go out and meet individuals that could not only help us further our knowledge but also share their career journey left a great impact. One in particular was sharing my story because they were so similar to one another.  It brought me comfort to know that I have support from more than just my bosses but also that my dream is possible and my hard work will pay off.

 I believe that staying home and just reading books, or receiving training for the Blanca Wetland sites alone could not possibly be half as intriguing or powerful as the week-long unity was.  It brought us together, gave us a support group, taught us how to work together, engaged us, gave us insight to each other’s shore bird locations, as well as created a unity and solid work force. I not only enjoyed the time we spent watching birds but also the time we spent creating memories. I am more than ready to get out in the field and work!

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