I’m writing this now from Portland, after having checked in with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). We’ve turned in our gear, taken the last photos, reconnected on Facebook Live and gave FWS a final debriefing. I still have a few weeks left of outreach, a report, and a presentation in Vancouver – but there is a part of me that knows that the trip is over.

Jean leaves tomorrow morning for Alberta. It will be a tough goodbye. He’s someone I’ve been side by side with 24/7 since the start, and we’ve been good to each other through it all. Maybe to some degree it was us against the madness of the trip’s itinerary and all the people we met. Either way, he was a wonderful teammate, and I know I couldn’t have done it without him.

All I can say is thank you to Environment for the Americas and FWS and everyone else. I will return home a changed person. I had my own personal battles to fight prior to this – and I have learned so much personally and professionally. I know I’ve given to the FWS and other partners so much, given the cause of protecting birds so much, and hopefully ended the inaugural experience that will have many more interns completing a similar voyage for years to come.

All that said, the trade doesn’t seem fair. I know I’ve given, but I have received so much and will always be grateful.

Thank you. The next step in my journey begins soon.

Christian McWilliams

Christian studied International Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University with an interest in global environmental conservation, and has lived most of his life between Spain and the United States. Internship experiences during his studies have taken him up and down the East Coast of the US, and had him spend over a year in Mumbai. He enjoys keeping up with global and domestic news, volunteering, and a well made cup of coffee.

1 Comment

Denisse · June 2, 2016 at 11:06 am

Christian, always follow your dreams! It was wonderful meeting you as part of this internship, hermano! Te deseo lo mejor, don’t be a stranger. Cuidate. -Denisse

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