Experience of a Lifetime

Author: Land Trust Team | 07/18/22

Written by Taylor Schmuki, stewardship assistant at the Whidbey Camano Land Trust.

Taylor (middle) snaps photo with the 2022 interns, Shannon (left) and Ailish (right).

My first experience working in the field was as a summer intern in 2012, performing vegetation surveys and monitoring snowy plovers at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge in Utah. It also was my first time driving a truck, being eaten alive by bugs, getting ATVs stuck and unstuck in the mud and learning to collaborate with fellow technicians. It was the experience of a lifetime.

That internship kick-started more experiences that helped develop the skills I needed to be hired as a stewardship assistant at the Whidbey Camano Land Trust. In that first internship, at age 19, I hadn’t even known Whidbey existed, let alone that it would hold my dream career. I now have the privilege of working outside in island nature, places that include shorelines, forests, farms and prairies! And now, 10 years after my first internship, I have the honor of paying it forward as I train two summer interns this year at the Land Trust.

The summer internship program started three years ago with one internship position sponsored annually by Mutiny Bay Blues, an organic blueberry farm on Whidbey Island owned by Britt and Linda Fletcher. With more land to care for, we recently added a second intern. The program provides opportunities for students and recent graduates to experience stewarding the bountiful nature of Whidbey Island. It gives them first-hand experience protecting and restoring habitats, learning to use and maintain various tools, time management, working with a diversity of people and much more.

These interns receive foundational training in the grassroot efforts that shape our local ecosystem. Many will take the skills they learn and apply them to future conservation efforts, strengthening our universal environmental community.

Thanks to Mutiny Bay Blues and the Fletcher family for its continued and enthusiastic support of this important program. We’re seeking a second program sponsor to help keep the summer internship program going. If you or your business is interested in sponsoring, please call 360-222-3310 or email Jessica Larson at jessica@wclt.org.


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