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#IamACE – EPIC Edition – Paige Lambert

We took a trip down to Saguaro National Park to visit Epic Intern Paige Lambert who has been with ACE since June of last year. Paige let us tag along for a border impact survey where she shared her ACE experience with us. Thanks Paige! 

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Can you tell me a little bit about your background? (Where are you from? What did you study? What got you interested in ACE?)

I am originally from Houston, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. My degree required extensive fieldwork experience, which enabled and inspired me to find a job working as a biological science technician after graduation. The dream was to work for the National Park Service, as visiting and exploring different National Parks is one of my favorite hobbies. During my job search, I found that ACE offered internships with NPS for recent graduates like me. I applied for a job with the resource management division at Saguaro National Park, and when they offered me the position, I didn’t need much convincing to accept it.

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How did you find about ACE and can you tell me about your transition from being in college to being an EPIC intern?

I found ACE simply by Googling conservation jobs. Three weeks after I graduated from school, I packed up my car and drove across the southwest to move to my new home in Tucson. I remember being worried about if I would succeed at my new job, and if college had truly prepared me for the “real world”. My supervisors and crew leads ended up being great mentors to help me navigate through this transitional time; they expected me to put forth my best effort, but were patient and understanding while I figured things out. Over time, I built my confidence and I gained independence and initiative.

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What is a typical day like for you?

There truly is no typical day at my job. The only consistent aspect of my time with ACE has been starting every morning with a gorgeous sunrise as I lace up my boots for a day in the field. My days have varied anywhere from scorching hot afternoons mapping invasive grass species, to freezing mornings searching for tracks and spotting deer with binoculars, to meeting with park visitors and volunteers to educate them about resource management.  The variety keeps me on my toes so that I am always challenged to do something new and never grow complacent.

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What has been a highlight for you?

A valuable highlight in this internship has been connecting with like-minded people who share similar goals and values that I hold. The people that I work with have also chosen to make a commitment to preserving and protecting our country’s resources, and working with them every day brings a new sense of hope and appreciation to the cause. A spirit of camaraderie in the field is oftentimes what makes the difference between a positive, constructive field day and a frustrated, aggravated field day.
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What has been the most challenging part of being an EPIC intern?

To be completely honest, this lifestyle is not cozy and not for everyone. It takes mental grit, physical endurance, and a creatively frugal mindset to make it work. In the most challenging moments, it can be hard to remember the importance of the work that you are doing, and the impact that you are making. It is crucial to be able to keep the long-term goal in mind, and reflect on what truly matters at the end of the day.

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If you could give someone going into your position some words of advice what would you say?

Strive for excellence and self-improvement every day, even in small matters. As an ACE intern, you will be exposed to new territory that can seem intimidating, but face it head on with confidence and you will take away a brand new skill set. You have an opportunity to gain mentors who are leaders and trail blazers in their field, so don’t let a chance to learn from them pass you by. Most importantly, always be a team player- encourage your teammates, and only compete against yourself. Everyone knows something that you don’t know, so be open to learning from anyone you meet.

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Where do you see this position taking you in the future?

This position has given me a fresh conviction that I am able to contribute valuable and meaningful work towards a worthy cause. It has reaffirmed my mission to build a career in environmental protection and conservation, and has provided me with a solid foundation to work from. My path in this mission is still undefined: I may continue to pursue resource management, I might go to school for environmental law, or I may enter the non-profit sector. Whatever path I take, I know that my time with ACE has served as my conservation trail-head.

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#IamACE | Rachel Stewart

ACE Cultural Resources Diversity Internship Program (CRDIP) Intern Rachel Stewart

[ACE]: Tell us about your CRDIP internship.

I am an intern at Dry Tortugas National Park, about 70 miles off the coast of Key West. I have been working with other interns to find and capture lionfish in the park. I am also working a little with the Submerged Resources Center of the National Park Service to locate and map a shipwreck in the park.

Can you tell me about your background?

I was born and raised in Nashville, TN. I grew up loving the water, so it only seemed right I start SCUBA diving. Through diving, I have been exposed to many new opportunities, one of which is underwater archaeology. I am currently a junior at Tennessee Technological University studying civil engineering with a concentration in the environment and water resources.

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How did you find out about ACE, and what attracted you to this position?

I found out about ACE through my participation in Youth Diving With a Purpose (YDWP), a program that teaches the basics of underwater archaeology. The Submerged Resources center offered diving internships to three participants in parks throughout the country. I knew this position at Dry Tortugas would be an amazing once in a lifetime experience.

Can you tell me a highlight and a challenge that you’ve had so far during your internship?

The most obvious highlight of my internship is the diving. It is amazing! I’ve never had the chance to dive as often at gorgeous sites like those in the park. The main challenge I have had during my internship is adjusting to the lifestyle at the park so far away from the conveniences I’m used to.

Any goals for when you complete your internship?

Upon completing the internship, I hope to have made a good impression at the park. I also hope to have helped in mapping a shipwreck and remove as many lionfish as possible.

Do you have any advice you’d give to someone looking to join EPIC or get into this field?

To anyone looking to join EPIC or get into this field, I would say be open to all opportunities. I have had many experiences that don’t necessarily match exactly what I want to do in my career, but through these experiences I have picked up varied skills that will help me in the future. I would also say be sure to make good first impressions with everyone you meet. Networking is really what has helped me the most.

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#IamACE | Alex Sloane [video]

In our ongoing series #IamACE we are very excited to bring you a new format…VIDEO! Thank you to Alex Sloane for featuring in our first #IamACE Video Blog.

#IamACE | Theadora ‘Thea’ Doyon

[ACE]: Tell me about your background.

[TD]: I’m from Connecticut. I went to school in LA for english actually, so I’m sort of out of my element here but in a good way. At school I just had this realization that I needed to get back out into the wilderness. Instead of getting an editing job after graduating like I had initially planned, I went to work for a nonprofit doing graphic design. I just wanted to get back to nature. I don’t have the normal background of a lot of ACE corps members–many have degrees in environmental science or something similar. It’s helped me to decide what I want to be in life. Before this I thought i’d just do an editing job and maybe work for a magazine or publishing company but then I came out here, and now I’m really focused on getting an environmental education job. I definitely feel like I can shape my experience here for my future.

What motivated you to get into the field of conservation?

When I was little I was always camping and hiking and I loved being outdoors. When I was living in Los Angeles I was really starved for contact with the wilderness and I just really didn’t feel fulfilled. On my days off I’d go on hikes and those always made me feel a little bit better. So I realized what makes me happiest is being outdoors. So when I was thinking about what to do after college, I talked to a career counselor. My counselor told me about his girlfriend who had done an Americorps conservation program and it just sounded so cool, like exactly what I wanted to do. So I looked into it because I knew I needed a change.

Can you tell me about one highlight and one challenge during your internship?

I think my challenges tend to also be highlights, because when you push through the difficult things you’re just so satisfied. For me, rock work has always been one of the greatest challenges but also one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done at ACE. I still carry around this photograph of this beautiful staircase we built on a project in Holbrook, so when people ask me “What do you do?” I hold that up and I’m like, “THIS is what I do!” I love seeing a finished rock work project. It makes you feel so good about what you’ve done. Because you’re moving tons of pounds of rock. Halfway through it you just wanna punch a boulder.

Do you think this position has helped prepare you for the future?

Yeah, I think it has. One of the great things about ACE is you have all these people who are recent college graduates and are just trying to figure out what to do with their lives. It’s fun because you’re not only doing this manual labor that teaches you hard skills, but you’re living in this community that’s really supportive and motivating. People will tell you about jobs they heard of, or you’ll do applications together, you can help each other out that way. I like that.

What do you think sets ACE apart from other organizations?

I would say it’s the passion of the people that I see every day. I’ve never had a bad crew leader or a leader who wasn’t excited about the work they were doing. I think that really helps, because even on your worst days the people around you are still there and still enthusiastic about getting you motivated. And you can always say, “Hey, I’m not feeling great,” or something and they’re there right away to help you and to excite you again.

Do you have any advice you’d give to someone who’s looking to join ACE?

I’d say don’t doubt yourself. I came in worried that I’d be the least prepared person in ACE. I thought everyone would have all this experience and be really physically fit, like backpacking huge distances every weekend or something. I thought I’d be so exhausted I wouldn’t be able to swing a pick. And yeah…The first few days it’s a little hard. But you see pretty quickly how easy it is to get into the rhythm of things. One of the biggest problems I had was worrying if I would be ready for ACE. But I’d say just give it a shot!

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#IamACE | Rae Robinson

[ACE]: Can you tell me about your background? Where are you from?

[RR]: I’m from Maryland, just north of Baltimore. I went to college in Virginia at the college of William and Mary. I studied biology and graduated in May. I joined ACE in August.

What motivated you to get into conservation?

In school I really enjoyed classes that focused on conservation, but I’d never actually done any hands-on work, and I wanted to try it.

How did you find ACE?

I found ACE while I was looking for jobs after I graduated, on the Society for Conservation Biology job board.

Can you tell me about one challenge and one highlight of your work with ACE so far?

Both my challenge and my highlight would be my very first project in Lake Mary. It was a month long project. Initially I struggled with getting into the physical work that’s involved with trail building. But my biggest highlight was that by the second week of that project I felt so much better, I knew how to use the tools, I was able to deal with the heat much better, I had made friends…I went from low to high really fast.

How did you motivate yourself during that initial period when you were struggling?

I just related it back to when I first found ACE online. It just looked so cool to me because it was so different. It’s not sitting in a classroom, reading a book or on the computer—you’re out there making trail with your hands and doing all this cool new stuff. So I told myself, “Okay. This is why I’m here. It’s gonna be hard, but I’m up for the challenge.” Just a personal pep talk. And of course, all the other corps members were great. They’re all going through the same challenges so they really help lift you up.

Do you have any plans for when you’ve finished your term with ACE?

Yeah. I think I want get into the field of ecology conservation. I’m applying to biology technician jobs right now, so I’d like to work either with Fish & Wildlife, or with a college—a lot of colleges hire techs on to help with their research.

Do you think ACE has helped you prepare for your career goal as a biotech?

I definitely think so. When you go to fill out these applications online, they ask you about your schooling and your background, but they also ask you about your experience with fieldwork. And that was the one thing I was missing at first. I couldn’t prove that I could hike in the backcountry or that I could work long hours in extreme conditions. Now I can say that I do have that experience. I definitely feel prepared for camping and hiking and doing all that stuff outside that would be part of a biotech job.

Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about becoming corps members with ACE?

I’d say don’t stand in your own way. If you’re interested in being outside and doing this work, I’d say just go for it and apply!

Would you recommend ACE to anyone?

Yes, I already have! I have friends who like camping or hiking but maybe haven’t done the extent of what we do out here, or maybe they’ve never been out west. I’ve definitely encouraged my friends to apply.

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#IamACE | Nicole Gonzalez

What is your background? Where are you from?

I’m from Delray Beach, Florida. I went to school at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL and earned my undergraduate degree in 2014 with a major in Biological Sciences.

What motivated or inspired you to be in conservation?

Nature has always brought me happiness. I wanted a job where I could be outside and enjoy it all the time. Like all other valuable things, these natural spaces need to be protected. I want others to be able to experience them as I do.

How did you find ACE/EPIC?

I was part of another AmeriCorps organization, Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), when I learned about ACE. My AZCC crew worked alongside an ACE crew at Chiricahua Nat’l Monument doing trail work. We all became friends.

What duties are you responsible for within your internship role?

I am part of the resource management crew at Saguaro Nat’l Park, Tucson, AZ. I am responsible for conducting any surveys or monitoring projects that require fieldwork. Some examples are deer surveys, Gila monster radio tracking, saguaro growth surveys, and wildlife camera photo monitoring.

What has been one highlight and one challenge of your internship?

The biggest highlight of my internship has been seeing wildlife up-close in the backcountry and witnessing the seasons change in the Sonoran desert.

The biggest challenge has been trying to learn the plants and animals of the Sonoran desert – it’s so diverse!

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What are your future goals after this position ends?

I would like to continue doing fieldwork in beautiful places around the US.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Goals in Conservation for the future?

I see myself having lived in a couple different states, possibly working for a federal agency to help protect our public lands.

Do you think this position has helped prepare you for your future career?

This position has introduced me to the National Park Service, prepared me for working in tough field conditions, and taught me many technical skills. All will be helpful in my future.

What do you feel sets ACE apart from other organizations? How has ACE/EPIC helped to shape who you are personally and professionally?

I have met a lot of very different and great people interning in the conservation world. ACE has especially shown me how to work as part of a team.

What advice can you offer to future corps members and interns who are looking to get into the conservation field?

Even if you do not go into a career in conservation, working with a corps on public lands is a rewarding, fun, and memorable experience. It brings you closer to nature and tests your character.

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#IamACE | Hema Lochan

Hema Lochan, Media and Curatorial Intern at the Zion Human History Museum in Zion National Park

[ACE]: What do you do here in your EPIC internship?
[HL]: I am a Media and Curatorial Intern at the Zion Human History Museum in Zion National Park! I’ve helped digitize the herbarium collection at the museum, I am working on updating the website, and creating finding aids for researchers! I’ve also been learning hands-on skills, such as how to handle and work with artifacts!

Can you tell me about your background?
I grew up in a very different place – New York City, so working in the national park has been a dream! I just graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Anthropology and a certificate in Environmental Studies.

How did you find out about ACE, and what attracted you to this position?
I’ve always wanted to with the NPS, and I love museums, so this became a perfect fit! I had never been to Utah before, and I always wanted to learn how the behind-the scenes of museums functioned! I’ve been learning all this and more while I’ve been here.

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Can you tell me a highlight and a challenge that you’ve had so far during your internship?
I’ll tell the challenge first – when I got here, I was surprised that there was not much on the native culture on the land and its history. There were a lot of visitors, but they were not really focused on learning about the tribes that were here before Zion became a National Park. But that leads into the highlight – I’ve been learning so much about it here at the museum and trying to share what I’ve learned with others. For example, Zion National Park was originally Mukuntuweap National Monument before it was renamed – its original name came from the tribes that lived in the canyon before other settlers called it home as well!

Any goals for when you complete your internship?
I’d love to see the new museum website updated with the new information and finding aids! I hope the hands-on experience I’ve learned here will help me in other museums and collections!

Do you have any advice you’d give to someone looking to join EPIC or get into this field?
DO IT! There is so much that goes behind the scenes in a museum – from inventory, to making sure artifacts aren’t damaged, to cataloging new accessions. You will never be bored because there is so much to learn and so much really interesting things to get involved in.

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#IamACE | Mercy Iyere

This week’s IamACE features Mercy Iyere, ACE Arizona Corps Member. Mercy had very little outdoor experience before coming to ACE and now she has learned so much during her time at ACE.

[ACE]: Can you tell me about your background?

[MI]: I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. I spent a good chunk of my life in the metro Atlanta area. Right before I came to ACE I graduated with a degree in geology from Georgia State University. I’m 23 and I’ve been with ACE since October, so about 5 months.

What motivated you to get into conservation?

Right after high school I considered doing Americorps NCCC for a while, but for various reasons decided against it. Having completed college, this is my next chance to do something like that, but I didn’t want to do NCC anymore, I wanted to do something more specifically related to the environment. And that’s when I found ACE, through the corps network.

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Can you tell me about one highlight and one challenge of your term so far?

My challenge was my first physically demanding hitch. My first few projects were seed-collecting and we didn’t use that many tools. But my third hitch was a fencing project in Saguaro. It was the first hitch I’d been one where we needed to use tools, we had a lot of hiking, it was very physical. The beginning was definitely a struggle because I wasn’t used to doing that kind of work. Before ACE, I wasn’t very outdoorsy. I’d only ever gone hiking a few times.

A highlight was when I was working on the Pinal County trails project. It was the first night that I made a fire 100% on my own. It was like, “Oh my gosh! I’ve learned so much about being outdoors and being independent and proactive.”

Any plans for the future when you’re done with ACE?

No concrete plans right now. Hopefully I’ll get a job in environmental geology.

Do you think ACE has helped prepare you for the future?

Absolutely, because a lot of entry-level geology jobs are outside doing fieldwork. I think after ACE I can definitely handle working with equipment outside.

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What do you think sets ACE apart from other organizations?

From other jobs that I’ve had and from other corps that I see, the thing that sets ACE apart is the variety. Not just the fact that there are new people coming in every single day, but we’re not limited to projects just in Arizona—we can work on projects all over the southwest. It’s unpredictable. That makes it pretty exciting.

Do you have any advice to people looking to join ACE or who are interested in conservation?

I’d say be adaptable, and be prepared to look on the bright side. For example, sometimes you have to wake up early in the morning and it’s cold and you’re annoyed. But if you’re focused on being annoyed, you’re not going to notice how beautiful the sky looks.

#IamACE | Mark Gestwicki

In our 3rd installment of #IamACE we are excited to feature one of our California-based Assistant Crew Leaders, Mark Gestwicki. Mark’s journey within ACE is common: a transition from Corpsmember into an Assistant Crew Leader. Mark’s work ethic and leadership skills are a true asset to our California crew program, and we are happy to showcase his story here.

[ACE] What is your background?
[MG] I grew up in Western New York. I went to the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Conservation Biology. After graduation, I served for 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, Africa where it was my responsibility to introduce sustainable farming practices to a rural village. My goal was to implement community-based projects that would ultimately lead to a permanent increase in standard of living.

What motivated or inspired you to be in conservation?
My Field Biology teacher in High School was very influential and inspired me to pursue a career in environmental conservation. Together we formed the Dunkirk Outdoor Adventure Group which takes students out rafting, backpacking, and caving. He is still a good friend and I visit him whenever I’m back in New York.

How did you discover ACE?
I found ACE on a conservation job board.

What was your favorite aspect of being an ACE Corpsmember?
I enjoyed having the opportunity to spend time in some of the most beautiful parts of California. Not many jobs other than ACE offer the opportunity to spend a month in the backcountry of Sequoia National Park.

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How did you transition into an Assistant Crew Leader?
It seemed like the logical next step after my initial 6-month AmeriCorps term. I wanted to take on more responsibilities at work.

What has been your favorite project and why?
My favorite hitch was probably an invasive removal project in Sequoia National Park. We were about 20 miles in the backcountry for a month. I would spend hours’ trout fishing after work and on the weekends. We hardly saw anyone out there.

What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced at ACE?
I think that ACE is socially challenging. There are constantly new faces and it can be exhausting meeting new people all of the time.

What are your future goals?
I want to expand my knowledge and skills related to international development, sustainable agriculture, and natural resource management. I’m applying to graduate schools now and looking at creative ways to use my AmeriCorps Education Award. Ultimately, I want to manage conservation projects with an international NGO or nonprofit.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
It is my intention to continue pursuing a career in conservation.

Do you think this position has helped prepare you for your future career?
Yes! It’s been interesting to be a part of the “on the ground” conservation projects. I’ve been able to work closely with the major governmental land management organizations and witness which projects are given priority and how they are implemented. I’ve also gained valuable skills in environmental restoration, leadership, and problem solving.

What advice can you offer to future corps members who are looking to get into the conservation field?
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget why you want to protect natural areas in the first place. Take some time to go for a hike, sit by a stream, or climb a tree.

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#IamACE | Daniel Reyes

In the second installment of our series #IamACE, we’d like to introduce you to ACE corps member Daniel Reyes. Daniel is a crew corps member based out of our Flagstaff, Arizona branch. We caught up with Daniel, hard at work at our Yarnell project in southern Arizona.

[ACE] Can you tell me about your background? Where did you grow up?

[DR] I grew up in Central Valley California, and I went to school at Humboldt University in Northern California. I studied environmental management and protection with an emphasis in natural resources planning. I just graduated in December.

What motivated you to get into conservation?

There’s a local preserve by a land trust near my house and the use of land always fascinated me. I didn’t go out into nature much as a kid–my family didn’t do much hiking or camping or anything. But when I got the chance to get out and be exposed to it, I realized I wanted to work in nature.

How did you find ACE?

In the summer of 2014 I was wondering what to do between semesters of college. I looked around online and found a 450 hour position with ACE. It coincided perfectly with my summer break. I liked it so much that I wanted to come back!

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Can you tell me about one highlight and one challenge of your time with ACE?

My highlight would be the people. We all come from so many different backgrounds but we all have the same mindset of working hard in the field of conservation. A challenge from my last term with ACE was the heat–working in extreme temperatures in the Grand Canyon. This project we’re on right now in Yarnell is more mentally challenging. We have to use the materials that are around us to build staircases for the trail. It requires a lot of planning.

What do you think sets ACE apart from other organizations?

I think the difference I notice working for ACE is the people it attracts. The corps members in ACE seem a lot more prepared, motivated, and willing to do this type of work.

Tell me about your goals for the future when you’re done with ACE.

I’d like to work for the city or the county. I love hard manual labor and getting outside. I’m not totally sure what I’d like to do, but I think ACE has been helpful in preparing me for my future. ACE provides you with experience in the field, helps you form an applicable skill set, and you have to work together with many other people which helps you develop your teamwork skills.

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#IamACE | Stephanie Emery

Today we launch a new blog series titled “I am ACE” (#IamACE), which aims to highlight the individual stories of ACE’s corps members and interns.

Our corps members and interns come from culturally diverse backgrounds across the United States and each has a unique story to tell. Common to all is the passion for our natural environment, and a desire to develop into a future land steward.

In the first of our #IamACE series we introduce you to Stephanie Emery, and ACE EPIC intern currently serving with the Bureau of Land Management in Ironwood Forest National Monument in southern Arizona.
We are excited to share Stephanie’s story.

Stephanie Emery

[ACE] What is your background? Where are you from?
[SE] I am 22 years old. I’m born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I went to the University of Washington there. I just graduated last winter and studied environmental science, and focused on conservation.

What motivated you to be in conservation?
I am Native American–from Alaska. I grew up learning to be in tune with the land and with nature, and that motivated me to want to conserve our landscape. Growing up I really saw how people have been negatively impacting nature, and I really want to make a positive impact and try to restore our lands.

How did you find ACE?
I did an internship with AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) who shares a similar mission with ACE. I met Hannah Wendel (ACE/EPIC internship Program Manager and Recruitment Specialist) through that position and she informed me about this internship, so I applied.

Can you tell me about the responsibilities you have for your internship?
We do a lot of trash pickup along the border. We monitor wildlife using cameras, and coordinate volunteers for different events. We install wash barriers to prevent people from driving off-road and causing erosion, install informative and regulatory signs, and also repair fences on the monument.

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Stephanie and fellow intern Alex Hreha check up on a barrel cactus that was relocated off of the path of an access road. The cactus was replanted safely off the road site and has been growing steadily and healthily since its relocation

What has been one highlight and one challenge of your internship?
The highlight has been working outdoors. We see a lot of wildlife and Native American artifacts. We’ve seen lots of bighorn sheep, some foxes, lots of animals. I love being out here.
The volunteer coordinating can be challenging. We are facilitators in that setting, so we take on a lot of responsibilities. The volunteers often come in with their own ideas, so we have to work with them. They often ask us why we’re doing a project, so we have to reassess our reasoning and back it up. This can be a positive experience though, because if we were just given an assignment we may not even think about the reasoning behind it, whereas when we coordinate the volunteer events we really have to know what we’re doing and why.

What are your plans after this position? Goals for the future?
I took the GRE and I’m planning on going to graduate school for either Rangeland Ecology or Fire Ecology. Eventually I hope to end up with a full time position with the BLM, who I currently intern for. That’s one of the major organizations that I’ve aligned myself with.

So do you think this internship has helped you to prepare for that career?
Definitely, yeah. This internship has given me the long term experience that I need for my resume, compared to some of the other internships which I’ve done that have been much shorter. This internship is 9 months long. One of the benefits of this work is that it has given me close to a year of experience that I need for my resume to prove that I’m committed.

What do you feel sets ACE apart from other organizations?
ACE’s staff seems more closely connected and more helpful than what I’ve experience with other internships. During some internships I never even met any of the staff and no one contacted me throughout the time I was working. ACE’s staff is readily available. The internship durations are better, and they have more cooperation with different organizations like NPS and BLM, which is great for career moves.

So do you think it’s helped you professionally?
Yes it has, in that I’ve gained a lot of good connections within the BLM, who I want to get a career with them in the future. It’s also helped me with graduate school, because it brought me from Phoenix to Tucson and helped introduce me to people from the University of Arizona where I can hopefully study someday.

Any advice you’d give to someone considering a career in conservation?
ACE is a good starting point. I think I’d advise people to start by volunteering (I did a lot of volunteering which I felt helped me get in with ACE) then short internships, build up to longer term internships, and that can help you build the framework for a career in conservation.

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Stephanie and Ryan Scot Gillespie install a sign to notify the public to refrain from entering a certain area in order to protect the bighorn sheep who are entering their lambing season.

We're busy conserving the environment