Sunday, July 31, 2011


wow my 3 days at John Heinz was not long enough to fulfill my happiness. I was like a little kid in a candy store as Helen pulled into the lot of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. What a beautiful place in such a strange area. To see a deer to your right and then the highway to your left blew my mind. A residential neighborhood across the street from the entrance and high school football players so close they could run the trails. I was so impressed with John Heinz 1,000 acres of land especially their visitor center. You could get lost in their education building that has floors made from tires and cork. High tech displays and a beautiful auditorium that we watched a movie about the refuge in. The place was so up to date on the latest and not saying it is better than my camp Forsythe but it is in my fav 5 of Refuges to be. (PS. I haven't been to that many refuges so I guess they are all my favorite). Each refuge I have been to has its own unique aspect that draws me into the US Fish and Wildlife an inch each time. But back to John Heinz whew can you say Mariana put us to work. She did not anything that you have to get the child labor law handbooks out to check and make sure she was not breaking any rules but enough to keep us busy throughout our work day. I enjoyed it so much she made it 10x better and always made sure we were okay. She made the trip fun yet also had us maintaining trails and took us on a tour of the refuge. Even though Philadelphia is in my backyard stumbling a piece of land so beautiful can make any fast pace slow down. Wish I could have stayed longer in their pollinating garden that the young kids worked so hard in. Hopefully I can go back and visit very soon this time with family and friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Easy Breathing

Just when I worked up all 3 nerves needed to present the group the 'First Impressions' activity it did not happen. I can say I was a little disappointed that it did not happen but happy at myself for being ready to put myself in that position. I was also happy because 3 of the kids gravitated towards me today and that warmed my heart. I can say at times I have a soft spot for kids but it can fade QUICKLY. But overall I am happy and a little sad to know that there will be no more Tuesday group. I learn so much while they are here and it gives me a reason to get out and play in the dirt again. :) Those kids are very lively and have a lot of life in them and I hope they take as much as they can from coming to the refuge as much as I will. My week at Camp Forsythe had been splendid. No complaints except those bugs they get more and more viscious as the time flies I think they are jealous of me. Jealous of what you may ask and I have no reply it is just an excuse to get me through the day. My 3 day work day at John Heinz is Thursday and I am getting more and more excited. I think I am excited because I haven't been to another refuge besides Patuxent and Edwin B Forsythe. The other day I was on the phone with a young man from Rhode Island Complex and I swear the 15 minute conversation seemed to feel like hours as we compared and contrasted refuges and talked about our experiences working interpretation tents and the best ways to keep others from walking onto refuge property. He told me about him being a part of the Student Career Experience Program also known as SCEP. He said it was one of his greatest experiences even though he did not want to always be a part of the visitor services. I found that to be similar to my feelings of my internship. I admired his passion for his job and his excitement to even be a part of this great team of people. No matter what I do I want to have his same drive and dedication that he expressed to me over the telephone. That was my weekly lesson that I will take with me and apply it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Food for the soul

This Friday my supervisor gave me some food for the soul as he assigned me to one of the biggest projects I will ever take on. Okay maybe I am exaggerating but it feels like something huge, but he explained to me that we go through countless years of learning how to read and write but one thing they don't teach us as a part of communication is understanding and listening to people. He told me to take that with me whether it is in teaching or my fantasy career of being a lawyer. I will always store that away with me as ONE of the biggest life lessons learned that no one does teach you how to listen and understand. That is something we learn by nature and nurture to listen to what others have to say and be open enough to say we understand. I find that something I want to hand down to many people on how important that is. Sometimes we do not listen or even attempt to understand the next person we are quick to ignore. But back to my project I have to come up with an half hour to and hour environmental education plan for the young group that comes on Tuesdays. My supervisor says that I may not have to lead but he is thinking about it. I call it my biggest task because I few like kids are the biggest critics and it is very hard to keep their attention. I have little cousins and from first hand experience NOTHING lasts more then 3 minutes before it is Charderah I want to play something else this is BORING. I guess I am thinking to into the task but I hate disappointing. I wont let this task beat me it just allows me to get into another career opportunity. Who knows I may like it and change my mind and accept that I may want to teach one day. :) Wish me luck.!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Time Traveling

Can you believe it?! The 15th of July which means I have a month and four days left on this amazing adventure I have embarked on at Camp Forsythe. Yesterday, I learned about one of the biology interns. Just like Camp friends are made and I can say I have gotten to meet some very interesting people. I may never see them again but that does not mean I will not cherish the moments that was shared all summer. Coming from someone who can come off as a little stand-offish I feel like I reinvented myself for the better this summer. I stepped up and did things that no one would believe I did. I am enjoying each lesson that I learn, like the other day when I was at Holgate I learned about white caps. The information I gained is not something I go searching for on google but the more I know the more effective I am on the beach talking to people. Now when someone asks I can share with them the same little piece of information I have gained. I love to see all the different faces and personalities that Holgate beach brings from the kids, to the parents, to the surfers, and passing bikers they all seem to have a story to tell that is always intriguing to hear.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another week 1,000 smiles

Another week at Camp Forsythe and I will always remember the smiling faces that beam upon me throughout the days. From all ages the smiles warm me up to the highest extent when I can give someone information. Yesterday a young girl asked her mommy if she could show the lady (Me) her shells. I was so excited that she chose to share her shells with the stranger lady and wanted to ask me MANY questions about the tiny little birds (Piping Plover's). Today was even more of touch to my heart to be able to help with environmental education with a diverse group of kids from my area. They also had their parents along, when I found out I would be a part of this project I was very excited. The fact that they were from Atlantic City and had this opportunity to learn so young about things that I am learning about while on the refuge at my 18 years of life is a blessing. I was so happy to see how involved they were, there was NEVER  a dull moment with these lively young blessings even in the outrageous 100 degree weather and 95 in the shade. They showed interest in topics that people I know bypass daily including myself and I wish I had that opportunity like these young children to have been able explore options in life outside of the normal firefighter, police officer, and doctor that they instill in us at that age as jobs that make a difference. Today I learned A LOT just like these young kids, maybe not the same lesson that they did but I took vital things out of the lessons that were giving. One big thing is OBSERVATION, my supervisor laid out 10 objects for the children to find and lets just say I only saw the big shiny objects that will catch any ones eye. I didn't see the small objects, the small things that still made a difference in being out of place in this nature science but I did not observe my surroundings carefully. Whether it is an animal in hiding or me doing my homework observation is key and at any age you can realize if you truly do OBSERVE your surroundings or OVERLOOK them. I have learned that it is okay to slow down that my city girl pace does not allow my eyes to grasp everything, that what is in front of me is not always the only thing near me and that is something that is VERY vital just in everyday life. I also learned a neat little story about a giant that disturbed a town because he wanted to "play" but did not know the right way to go about playing with the townsfolk. I mean hey that is not exactly how it goesss but that is how I took it. I took that little story with me and plan to put in my pocket for future references. For when I think about destroying an animals habitat because it is in my way or less appealing to my eye or just picking up a flower for my own personal pleasure I will realize that someone lives there if though they are not human beings they have the same emotions as any human and if someone destroyed my home I would be sad too. This is something that I will take and teach younger kids when I see them destroying habitat I will just notice that they are unaware and we can always use some guidance. Over these couple weeks I have realized that I can always be a city girl but I can also like the outdoors too. They say keep your friends close and enemies closer so that means the mosquito's and green heads have become my BEST FRIEND!!! We go everywhere together and do everything together.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weeks are Passing me by

I have been at Camp Forsythe for over a month now, why call it Camp Forsythe? I never was able to go to sleep away camp as a child and when I did go to camp I had the worst experience EVER. It was not what I envisioned at ALL as a child. The disappointment I felt everyday was shown and I never went to camp again. I call my refuge Camp Forsythe because it is not a job to me, more like a year at Camp...not that bad camp that I disliked sooo much but the camp I envisioned. The camp where I made friends and did projects that I enjoyed and didn't feel like I was being dragged into a dump every day. I will be honest I was not always so open minded and a great sport. IT TOOK TIME! I came to the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) with assumptions and expectations that were ruined. I wish I would have taken sooo much more out of NCTC but I was so stuck in my "City Girl" ways. I didn't understand the peacefulness and how serene NCTC was. If I could take the hands of time and turn them around counter clockwise I would have taken off my shield and greeted NCTC with the same love and tenderness it had to offer me. I was not ready to accept that I would be outside doing any of this, I always viewed myself as a desk, corner office, type girl. Not the girl who goes to get a full set of nails the day after she just banded Canada Geese and Purple Martins. I never expected myself to be in a tyvek suit looking like a marshmallow monster spraying the invasive species we call Frag. My month has been filled with new faces, new found endearment for the outdoors, and a greater respect for the fish and wildlife services.