Where are they now? Intern Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Ludlow
This blog marks the 10th Intern Alumni Spotlight — a series highlighting some of the individuals who have interned with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in the past. Last month, Brett Norman was featured as the Intern Alumni Spotlight, and this month we are following up with Sarah Ludlow.
Where she started: Sarah attended the University of Regina where she completed two bachelor of science degrees before continuing on to a master’s degree in biology. During her master’s, she examined the effect of oil and gas development on grassland songbirds. After graduating, she had a few contract jobs that focused on field work before moving to term work with the Canadian Wildlife Service and her intern position with NCC.
As an intern: She was hired as the Conservation Volunteers coordinator for NCC’s Saskatchewan Region mid-way through the summer season. In her role, she prepared events, organized volunteers and ran the on-site events throughout the region.
Where she is now: Following her internship, Sarah was first hired by the NCC team in a contract position and then full-time as the conservation science coordinator, GIS.
“GIS stands for geographic information systems, so I do a lot of mapping and spatial analysis. I am also quite involved with Natural Area Conservation Plans and with any research projects taking place in the region. It’s a little bit of everything, but it keeps things interesting!”
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Work she is passionate about: Sarah is heavily involved with the birding community both within Saskatchewan and nationally. She regularly takes to Twitter to post about ongoing research and projects related to bird conservation. In her spare time, she is involved with citizen science projects, such as the North American Breeding Bird Survey and Project Feeder Watch. Sarah has led an initiative to set up NCC’s first bird-banding station in the Saskatchewan region. “I contribute to bird research projects in my free time, so it was exciting to organize one of my own and incorporate it with my work.”
Thoughts about her time as an intern: “Something I really enjoyed about my internship is that it took me all across the province. We try to spread our Conservation Volunteers events to make them as accessible as possible to people throughout the province. That provided me with the opportunity to visit a lot of properties I wouldn’t have otherwise had a chance to visit.”
Sarah also mentioned that she believes that working for NCC offers interns a great change in perspective. “It is often easy to go through life with blinders on and live your own little life in your own little bubble. Working in this sector gives you a different way to look at the world, and that is really valuable for anybody, even if you work in development or communications.”
Her advice for future interns: “Don’t be afraid to try something outside your comfort zone, and even if you don’t feel like you have all the necessary experience, apply anyway and you can learn. There is nothing we do that can’t be taught, so don’t hold yourself back.”
Sarah went on to say that when she was just out of school, it was very difficult to find a job, and when she did, they were often contract or short-term positions. She recognizes that it can often be discouraging and disheartening, but if there is one thing she could tell her younger self, it would be that things get better and eventually everything will be OK.
Are you interested in building a career in conservation? Check out NCC's Conservation Internship Program for more information on current opportunities!
The Conservation Internship Program is funded in part by the Government of Canada's Summer Work Experience program.