Hello everyone, my name is Alexander Mullins, I am a 2017 EFTA intern placed at the Blanca Wetlands site in Colorado. I am excited to begin work and look forward to what the season will bring. I’ve always had a passion for wildlife and conservation and have found that this internship will provide me an opportunity to combine the two. Alongside the conservation aspect, this internship also involves education and outreach. I really enjoy educating kids and peers alike on amazing and interesting facts and, more often than not, misconceptions about biology and wildlife. It is well understood that education has the most significant impact when kids are taught young. This is a vital aspect of environmental education and conservation because I think that when an individual grows up with a love and respect for nature they will themselves make environmentally conscious decisions as well as influence their peers and family to do so as well. For me, this was and has been the case.
I grew up in a small rural Colorado town as an only child with a widowed father who worked extremely hard to support us. This meant that when not in school, I spent most of my time alone. We lived near an irrigation ditch and a grain mill, which was, needless to say, rich in wildlife! I spent most of my days with a mason jar by my side searching for and catching “critters”. Everything from spiders, snakes, scorpions, ants, beetles, lizards and mice ended up in my little jar for observation. Once I had thoroughly observed the animals and showed everyone what I had caught. I would release them back into the wild. Observing wildlife and the “thrill of the hunt” was always my passion and everyone who knew me knew just that. I was always the one to remind people that spiders are necessary for the environment and that a bee isn’t going to mess with you if you don’t mess with it. The kid that had a wild snake around his neck 10 minutes after catching it. My influence on my family definitely led them to acknowledge wildlife and nature much more and that all stemmed from a childhood passion and curiosity which was supplemented by early on environmental education. In this same manner, I feel like kids should be taught to love wildlife and enjoy its beauty rather than being negligent or afraid.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Environment for the America’s family and after the San Diego training, I know that it is just that. I’ve never quite got along with so many people from all different walks of life like I did with the EFTA crew. The fact that we were all passionate about wildlife was enough to create a long-lasting bond between what was prior, just a handful of strangers. Thanks again, and look forward to keeping in touch with you all! Tuvu out!!