July 9, 2013

From an Intern's Perspective

Alexis Black, a recent intern at Pinellas County Extension’s Satellite Extension Office at Brooker Creek Preserve reflects on her summer internship experience…

Photo of Alexis Black, Intern (left) and 
Lara Miller, Natural Resources Agent (right)
I discovered my passion for the environment after I read An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore and after studying environmentalism in an American History class. Every sentence I read in Gore’s book and every idea I studied in history class made something spark within me and drove me on a crusade to learn all that I can about the environment and to join the effort of improving it. While deciding where I wanted to intern, Brooker Creek Preserve became an option. I chose to intern there because I felt that I could learn about the environment. I was really excited to intern at the preserve because I would be engulfed by the Florida wilderness and meet others with the same passion as me.

Before I began my internship, I had no idea what expect except for the pretense that I would be learning about the environment. I visualized what I would learn about and what I would work on, and I thought of these scenarios where I would be outdoors all day hiking on trails and exploring the wilderness. In reality, I hiked with my sponsor and her co-workers almost every day I interned and they helped me learn the plants and animals of the preserve. I was also indoors a lot organizing and developing materials for the preserve’s Environmental Education Center, a center dedicated to educating the public about the environment and how to protect it. The reality I worked in was so much better than the visualizations I had prior to my internship. 

Over the course of my internship at Brooker Creek Preserve, I learned so much information regarding the preserve itself and the efforts to improve it. I researched the six ecosystems of the preserve along with the plants and animals that live in them. I developed a presentation about these ecosystems and their wildlife for my sponsor’s future use. I additionally completed and submitted two grant applications for a project my sponsor and I planned. I learned how to write responses for these applications and I learned what is necessary for a successful grant application. I also attend a meeting regarding stormwater with my sponsor and learned what stormwater is and what is being done to keep it free of pollutants. Along with the information I learned during my time at Brooker Creek Preserve, interning there has improved my responsibility, time-management skills and helped me grow more mature. These improvements make me feel more prepared for the stressful senior year ahead of me and make me feel more prepared for the workplace.

I am very grateful to have interned at Brooker Creek Preserve because it has taught me so many skills that will be useful to me in the future and it has made me feel more prepared for the adult world. Interning at Brooker Creek Preserve has been both a wonderful and extraordinary experience.

“These past few weeks have literally changed my life…You have changed me more than you could ever know.” –Alexis Black

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