10 things you need to survive as a NCC intern

One of the best things about field work is having an amazing crew (Photo by NCC)

One of the best things about field work is having an amazing crew (Photo by NCC)

August 11, 2016 | by Megan Quinn

Working with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) as a conservation intern is a dream come true. Growing up in England, my passion for the environment was fueled by exploring the woodlands around my home and trying to learn as much as possible about them.

After moving to Canada, I graduated from the ecosystem management technician/technology programs at Sir Sandford Fleming College, located in Lindsay, Ontario. My studies armed me with the skills I needed to work with the Crowe Valley Conservation Authority and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

Every day I wake up excited to be an NCC intern. I love the work that I do, and I feel as though I’m making a difference in my environment; in my community. I look forward to continuing my work with NCC, and hopefully expanding my knowledge of species at risk.

My top 10!

1) Extra socks – At some point you will end up with wet feet! Whether by falling in a wetland, stepping on an unsteady log or getting caught in a rainstorm, there is nothing worse than a three-hour drive home with wet socks.

2) Extra water – Make sure you have enough water to last the field day, then add an extra litre (you will drink it).

Rocky hills of the Frontenac Arch (Photo by NCC)

Rocky hills of the Frontenac Arch (Photo by NCC)

3) Strong legs – When the rocky hills of the Frontenac Arch stop looking like Mount Everest, you know that NCC fieldwork is the best fitness program around.

4) A vivid imagination – There will be times when you’re climbing up the side of a rock face, looking for eastern ratsnakes, and you’ll stop to think about how you probably look (and feel) like a three-legged mountain goat (Your other “leg” is carrying the essential Trimble GPS unit and field guides).

5) Sunscreen – If you’re anything like me, you’ll somehow get a sunburn during the dawn chorus’ breeding bird surveys at five a.m. Apply often!

6) A good sense of humor – You’ve just gotten back to the canoe after a long field day, and your manager tells you she can’t find the camera. She knows she had it at the last spot, so you spend the next hour frantically trying to recover it, only to find it was in her pocket the whole time. (Don’t worry, we still love you Ali!)

Snapping turtle (Photo by NCC)

Snapping turtle (Photo by NCC)

7) Camera – Your scaly, furry and slimy species are very photogenic.

8) Insect repellent – At some point you will start to feel like one big mosquito bite. A great tip is to dance around your field partner frantically waving your arms so they can comfortably write in the field book without being eaten.

9) Hummus – We estimated that the body mass of our field crew is about 75 per cent hummus. Never go into the field without this essential snack!

10) An AMAZING field crew – This one you won’t have to worry about! Whether trying to mimic bird calls to each other, renaming plants in your own secret code (You don’t know about the “fatty hangy downy sedge?”) and telling terrible jokes. These wonderful NCC staff are guaranteed to become your close family!

Visit NCC’s website to learn more about the conservation intern program. Megan’s internship was generously supported by Imperial.

Megan Quinn

About the Author

Megan Quinn is the the Nature Conservancy of Canada's coordinator of conservation biology in Eastern Ontario.

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