Advanced internships provide summer program alumni with the next step in the ladder of learning by offering job experiences and ongoing career guidance and support. The Park Stewardship Program develops internship positions with key partners, then matches students with job opportunities. This summer, 16 returning alums were placed in year-long summer internships with park staff or park partners, including California State Parks, the Marine Mammal Center, and Aim High. These interns were provided directed mentorship, indepth job experience, and exposure to careers in parks and other environmental fields.
Summer Youth Program Alums placed
Alcatraz Night Tours
Education award per student
Park Stewardship Program Bay Area Wilderness Training
31% 31% 19% 13% 6%
Ethnicity of Participants
California State Parks, Angel Island
Marine Mammal Center
Park Nursery Program
National Outdoor Leadership School
Working with the Camping in the Presidio Program, Edmond helped to provide children and youth who traditionally have not visited national parks with overnight camping experiences. In this capacity, Edmond helped to organize and maintain all the camping gear, learned to coordinate the logistics of group arrivals and departures at the campground, and led gear talks for incoming groups. “This internship program has opened my eyes to the countless organizations working in collaboration to preserve nature and educate the public of its beauty and resources. Without this program, I would not have made all these connections and been able to find other internships in a field in which I am very passionate about.... getting involved with the Parks and this internship program was one of the best decisions of my life.”
Camping in the Presidio Mentor: Zak Klein, Bay Area Wilderness Training
Though this internship, Izzy challenged himself to transition from a Presidio Park Stewards volunteer to a member of the program staff (15 years old this summer, he began volunteering when he was 9!). As an intern, Izzy helped to run volunteer workdays, assisted with a variety of restoration activities, and helped with behindthe-scenes office work such as database entry. Izzy also participated in a series of trainings including GIS and brushcutting.
Presidio Park Stewards Mentor: Vanessa Stevens, Presidio Trust
“The most challenging part by far was stepping up to the new position that the internship gave me as a staff member as opposed to a volunteer, and acting more professional in a work environment as well as just dealing with the new responsibilities... LINC was one of the most amazing summers I have ever had, and this internship was an incredible experience as well!”
Josh Romero had the extraordinary opportunity to work— as an 18-year-old—for the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. This past summer, Josh spent time in the Office of Youth working on the American Latino Heritage Initiative, as well as on programs aimed at bringing the outdoors experience to more young people and a broader spectrum of the population. By meeting the challenges of living independently in D.C. and working alongside older and more experienced peers, Josh said this Advanced Internship was “totally transformative” both personally and professionally. “The highlight of my time in Washington D.C. was having the honor and privilege of meeting President Barack Obama in person! Meeting the President and taking in what D.C. represents has further inspired my ambitions to go into public service and the political field when I get older.”
Department of the Interior, Washington D.C. Mentor: Sue Gardner, Parks Conservancy
Ruby helped to lead Presidio volunteer programs, participated in rare plant monitoring, seed collection and nursery activities. She also developed a set of 132 native plant cards for new interns to use as a learning tool. As a veteran of three summers of Park Stewardship Youth Programs, Ruby was also hired as a seasonal employee by the National Park Service to develop and lead a special vegetation monitoring project.
Presidio Park Stewards Mentor: Michael Chassé, National Park Service
“When I was doing rare plant monitoring, particularly for the Lessingia populations in the Presidio, I realized that, if not for restoration work attributed to countless volunteers years ago, the Lessingia populations would not be as abundant as they are today. This realization was for me a piece of tangible evidence showing the importance of volunteer work in the parks.”
As dock aids Ritika and Susanna greeted and directed visitors to Angel Island as they got off the boats, inventoried anchored boats, and checked on dock fees. They also worked at the entrance kiosk where they took care of paperwork for campers, and answered questions related to the immigration station, the hikes, and bicycle trails. “The internship has helped me to be more confident and strong and be able to answer people’s questions. I am much more comfortable talking with people now than I was two years ago. I have improved my speaking skills and my communication skills along with social skills. ”
Angel Island Mentor: Jack Duggan, California State Parks “(This internship) showed me more of the world, the kind of jobs that I never knew … existed. Through the internship, I learned more about myself and also, what I might want to do in the future.”
Angel Island Mentor: Jack Duggan, California State Parks
As a part of the trail crew, Dylan assisted in many different aspects of trail construction and maintenance. Among other things, he constructed box steps on the Steep Ravine Trail, learned to use specialized trail equipment and tie knots, and hauled lots of dirt! “What was most valuable was learning how to interact with my co-workers and seeing the job dynamics in action. In the end, I was very comfortable with my coworkers and I was comfortable with the tasks I learned how to do, as I was able to teach them to someone else. I felt more comfortable using the tools as my body built the muscle memory and felt stronger so I was able to do more work.”
Trail Crew Mentor: Larry Evans, National Park Service
Luke helped the Marin Park Stewardship team lead volunteer groups, participated with bio-monitoring and fish relocation efforts at Redwood Creek, and assisted with a vegetation monitoring project. He also propagated plants, photographed programs, and wrote a guide to birds seen in the Muir Beach area for the Marin e-newsletter. “I learned the names of so many plants and what is native and not native to our area as well as to California in general. I can now share this information with others and spread the word about our habitat.”
Marin Stewardship Mentors: Jessica Hendrix, Karin Baty, Parks Conservancy
Through this internship, David stepped into the role of a youth leader, as a co-coordinator of Park Stewardship’s Restoration Youth Crew. David organized workdays, led team-building games, and worked hard to maintain an enthusiastic and positive work environment. “I learned a tremendous amount about group dynamics and maintaining a team environment. By the end of the internship, I had a much better sense of how to motivate my crew and maintain order....This internship has shown me that it doesn’t really matter where someone comes from or what their childhood is like; you can always connect to another person through a shared appreciation of nature and the environment.”
Restoration Youth Crew Mentor: Price Sheppy, Parks Conservancy
The Aim High Environmental Home program prepares middle school students for the years ahead, and the outgoing 8th-grade class gets the privilege of spending a week doing restoration and camping for a night in the headlands. Our interns helped to lead these week-long, immersive environmental programs. “After this summer (2011) with AimHigh, I realized I wanted to be a teacher..... Due to LINC and AimHigh, I now have a solid dream to have a classroom. Both these programs have been a blessing in my life; I don’t know where I would stand in college if I didn’t have these programs to inspire me to be better.”
Aim High Headlands Environmental Home (AH-HEH) Mentors: Alexander Lowry, Elizabeth Reiff, AimHigh
Aim High Headlands Environmental Home (AH-HEH) Mentors: Alexander Lowry, Elizabeth Reiff, AimHigh
“Working with LINC and Aim High have to be in the top ten best things to ever happen to me in my life... When I participated in LINC, my world opened up to that of natural open spaces, something I had very little access and awareness to in the city... I met a lot of people, had a lot of fun, but most importantly, I felt very fulfilled: I knew that what I was doing was making a difference in the natural world, and I decided I wanted to keep feeling fulfilled, so I decided I wanted to make this my life. LINC opened a door to a world of possibilities in the natural world, and I want to make sure this door is open for other youth like myself who are too accustomed to city life to look outdoors.”
As interns with the San Francisco Stewardship team, Aaron and Vinny assisted with all aspects of running volunteer programs. While Vinny was a long-time park volunteer, this was the first time that he tried his hand at planning and leading programs independently. Vinny and Aaron also participated in a variety of habitat restoration activities, including invasive plant removal, seed collection, and photo monitoring. They learned to use dichotomous keys to identify plants and developed material for the team’s weekly newsletter.
“This has given me new interest in learning about native plants and knowing what kinds of plants belong where.”
San Francisco Stewardship Team Mentor: Eric Klein, Parks Conservancy “Through this internship, I’ve been able to participate in all of the opportunities that the park has to offer that I had not known about before. It’s opened my eyes to future volunteer opportunities and even future career pathways. ...I gained valuable experience managing volunteers and a vast knowledge of the flora that grow in the GGNRA. Now I feel inclined to pass on this knowledge to anyone willing to hear.”
San Francisco Stewardship Team Mentor: Eric Klein, Parks Conservancy
Over the course of his summer internship, Rogelio became a well-integrated part of the Presidio Nursery team, helping with all aspects of plant propagation and nursery operations. Rogelio also had a chance to practice leading and facilitating groups as he helped to run weekly volunteer and school programs. “My experience with LINC was an amazing one… at first I didn’t know about places where I could go, not only to volunteer, but also, to just hang out with my family. l discovered new beautiful parks here in the Bay Area.”
Presidio Nursery Mentor: Ely Huerta Ortiz, Parks Conservancy
While interning at the Marine Mammal Center, Wendy prepared food for the animals, cleaned pens, and monitored the habits of the Center’s patients. On her education crew days, Wendy acted as a docent, opening and closing the Center, greeting the public, co-leading tours, and sharing information with the general public about the marine mammals, and the Center’s mission. Wendy also worked as a docent at San Francisco’s Pier 39, answering questions from hundreds of visitors a day!
“(This internship) really sparked my curiosity, and now I'm really passionate in learning more about it. Because of this internship, I have decided to not only major in Marine Biology, I am also considering Psychology so that I could study Animal Behavior, especially Sea Lions that have DA (domoic acid toxicity), because we know so little about it. I was also able to work on a lot of my skills, such as public speaking. Coming out of this internship, I have definitely learned a lot and feel almost like a whole new person...I can definitely say that without LINC or this Advanced Internship, I wouldn't have discovered so many things about myself and I wouldn't be as motivated as I am now.“
Marine Mammal Center Mentor: Jacquie Hilterman, Marine Mammal Center
In her internship at Alcatraz, Melody learned public speaking, formal interpretation, and how to communicate comfortably with visitors and those from out of country. Melody was responsible for dock announcements, where she greeted and oriented large groups of visitors. She also roved the island to make herself available for questions about Alcatraz, gave private tours of certain closed off areas, and researched the history of Alcatraz to become as knowledgeable as possible and to help visitors understand the significance of the island’s history. By the end of her internship, Melody designed her own 15-minute program about Robert Stroud (the Birdman), which she performed on her last night of work. “LINC gave me a direction in life.... the kind of work experience that I have gained through these internships is invaluable, and I am lucky, because at 17, I feel that I have been able to explore potential careers and interests. It has helped me with college, because I feel that I know what I want to do, or at least what I want to be involved in.”
Alcatraz Mentor: Eric Knackmuhs, Parks Conservancy
PARKS FO R AL L FO RE V ER Building 201, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA 94123 (415) 561-3000 www.parksconservancy.org
Published on Apr 9, 2012
Park Stewardship,a program of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, works to restore and protect the integrity of natural and cultural...