Marsh land bridge (Photo by NCC)

Marsh land bridge (Photo by NCC)

A natural fit

Zoe Arnold's encounter with a young fawn (Illustration by Emily Press)

Zoe Arnold's encounter with a young fawn (Illustration by Emily Press)

While at a Conservation Volunteers event at the Marsh property in Waterton, Alberta, I calmly strolled through the tall grass, taking in the stunning surroundings. Suddenly, I felt my toe lightly tap something. At my feet lay a young fawn curled up in the grass. I knew to leave it be, so I quietly backed away, while pointing out the creature to our Conservation Volunteers. The expressions of awe on their faces were priceless. Witnessing them connect with nature was inspiring.

This was my most memorable moment as a Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) intern. It revealed my passion for connecting people with nature. As an intern, I gained various skills that I now use in my job as NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program manager in Alberta every day. I acquired communication skills, such as speaking to groups of volunteers and sharing stories on NCC’s blog and website. I also became adept at identifying species, a necessary skill in helping remove invasive species and inventory native species at volunteer events.

Three years since my first internship, my job today involves supervising the next generation of conservation interns. Having once been in their shoes, I can relate to them, realizing there’s so much to learn.

NCC's internship program provides aspiring conservationists with opportunities that increase their skillset in the field instead of the classroom. Interns are also vital to NCC’s work. They help with many critical stewardship activities, from tackling invasive species, to restoring habitats, to conducting inventories.

Encouraging people to care about nature and then witnessing the resulting ripple effect is what I enjoy most about my current role. The more people we can connect to nature, the more successful conservation will be in the long term. I plan to work in conservation indefinitely and share its importance with others.

Coming across the fawn and seeing everyone’s face light up upon observing it, as well as my overall internship experience, made me realize that a career in conservation was the right fit for me.

This year, NCC is hosting 85 interns, coast to coast, funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Summer Work Experience program.

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Funding provided by Environment and Climate Change Canada