So, for the last week of my Environment for the Americas (EFTA) internship, I am reminiscing about the great times I have had, all the amazing things I did, and the wonderful people I have met.

Outreach: My favorite thing about the outreach was seeing students have a change in their thinking. For example, some students would first say “they are just birds,” but then after our interactions they would state that they loved the shorebirds or that they were at least “cool.”

Surveys: I learned so much doing shorebird surveys, and my confidence to identify and count these birds has increased. I love having this new skill set under my belt.

These are just a couple of the things that have stood out to me during this internship. I loved meeting all the experts during our training in San Diego, I loved meeting the experts here at Blanca Wetlands, I loved teaching the kids, I loved doing research, and I am so grateful for having had this opportunity.

The one important thing that I have learned through this experience is something I think is so important for anyone to learn. It is this: “People always think it’s ‘us and them’ when referring to diverse groups, whether it be about race, gender, sexual orientation, or age. What we fail to realize is that we are all people, and we have interacted with ‘those people’ in our everyday lives and never noticed it. When we realize that we are all just humans and remove these labels, that is when there will be peace and equality.” I will forever remember this and try to incorporate it in my teachings. Thanks, EFTA, for not only giving me a great experience, but for changing my life.

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