Where do I begin gushing love and admiration for Environment for the Americas (EFTA)?
I think the beginning is a good place, but I’ll try keep it short. Maybe a month ago now, I was looking for a new opportunity that would really set me on the road towards a career in conservation. I was searching online at work for the perfect opportunity. Then, all of sudden, there it was, like a giant bird in the sky… ¡Celebra Las Aves!
After reading a few blog posts from past interns, I made the decision to submit an application. After a few suspenseful days, Isabel contacted me and the ball started rolling and it did not stop. Fast forward two weeks to March 1, 2018 – I was now waking up early to catch a 6 am flight to San Diego, California, to meet the other EFTA interns and complete a weeklong training.
Okay, I was excited to go to California again, but was I excited to go to training? Honestly, a little anxious, but ask me if I knew I was going to have such a fun time!
From the moment I met up with the others, I was having a great experience. Of course, we kept it professional during our training that started promptly at 8 am, but that was only after a full breakfast was eaten and we were all shuttled to the San Diego Wildlife Refuge (the featured picture above is in Cabrillo National Monument.)
We received quality binoculars and field guides the first day to help us with our bird identification skills, and the lectures and quizzes taught us what to look for in the field. So not only were these lectures educational, but we put the knowledge to the test when we all went out to practice bird counts and identification in different habitats around San Diego. (I’m still learning!!)
It seems like a lot, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Employees from the agencies like the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, graduate students, and professors came to talk to us about our career paths, and even taught us some tips and tricks to help us navigate after this week concluded. Information like that is invaluable because it truly comes from people who have been down this path before us and realize that we’ll need help along the way. For that I am thankful.
Eventually the week came to end, and all of us who had become great friends in one week’s time had to scatter with the winds to save the planet.
Right now, I’m sitting at the Pump House that belongs to the Earth Conservation Corps in South East Washington D.C. This location once pumped hot steam to the US Capitol building for heat, but it is now a haven for at-risk youth and anyone with an inkling for the conservation of our planet. It hasn’t been a full week on the job, but I’m enjoying this experience and I am looking forward to hosting World Migratory Bird Day with the Earth Conservation Corps. See you next week!
-Stephen Poblete ( that’s me in front holding an “eagle” 😛 )