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'Ding' Darling Refuge welcomes two education interns

September 14, 2018
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Two education interns joined the team effort at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel in September.

Shay Hart and Emily Herz plan to stay through the school year as part of the refuge's internship program supported by the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge.

Hart, a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, with a bachelor's degree in biology and an ecology focus, most recently worked as a naturalist at the Great Basin Institute in Reno.

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Shay Hart and Emily Herz recently joined the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge team as education interns.

"I am also interested in outdoor education," she said. "Right now, I'm working with school groups and focusing on environmental education. I have already seen so many new plants and animals that you would never find in the desert."

Herz graduated from the University of Maine in May with a bachelor's degree in wildlife ecology and a minor in education.

"I love getting to explore ecosystems that are new to me and learning about the diverse wildlife that is on the island," she said.

DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The refuge supports interns and resident volunteers with free housing.

"Our interns bring youthful energy, enthusiasm, and creativity to the refuge team," Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said. "We are so thankful to our friends group. Without them, our internship program would not be possible, which would leave us woefully understaffed as refuge staff continues to shrink due to budget cuts."

To learn about supporting the refuge intern program, contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4.



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