Environmental Education Intern
For more information go the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC website)
DEC’s environmental education centers (Five Rivers, Reinstein Woods, and Rogers) offer internships to persons seeking professional experience in the field of environmental education. Each intern will receive training in the mission and role of the DEC environmental education bureau, a wide variety of center programs, the operations and activities of a center, principles of environmental interpretation and natural history of New York. Interns will assume the role of environmental education staff in carrying out the responsibilities necessary to meet the center’s objectives. Opportunities for training and development of specific skills will be available depending on each intern’s interests and the center’s needs. The internships run for 10 to 16+ weeks (depending on the center) and are held year-round.
Meet Our Former Naturalist Intern
As a third grader in Mrs. Sofko’s class at Okte Elementary, Jordan Gougler was intrigued by nature. He was most excited for that year’s field trip to Five Rivers. They had visited historical locations but this outdoor education center was his “ballpark.” As an adult today, he can still remember the field trip where he and his classmates explore the streams through the Friends of Five Rivers Guided School Program. He remembers a classmate capturing a crayfish and another turning over a rock to discover salamander eggs. He recalls viewing fallen trees and thinking that a beaver had chopped them down. These crystal-clear memories of his experience as a third grader planted a seed to where Jordan stands today, as a Naturalist Intern with Friends of Five Rivers.
Jordan attended SUNY Oneonta a few years ago and perused his love of the environment by obtaining a degree in Environmental Sustainability along with a double major in Spanish. His college career was enriched by a tropical biology excursion to Peru. There, with 17 other students, he acclimated himself to the climate, culture and terrain at a research center established by his professor. Jordan’s focus while studying in Peru was “how cultural and religious diversity effects conservation efforts in Peru.” With his bilingual skills and environmental sustainability background, he reached out to the locals to uncover the habits of inhabitants and their conservation efforts.
After only three and half years Jordan graduated with a double major and decided to pursue an opportunity with Five Rivers, remembering his first visit as a third grader. He was most interested in the ability to participate in the monitoring process of birds, bats and other local species. In late March he was hired as a Naturalist Intern. As time has gone on he has grown to love teaching and exploring Five Rivers with the Guided School Program. As one would expect from his first experience at Five Rivers, Jordan is certified in Ponds and Streams lessons. His future goal is to be able to teach Animal Signs and Explorers lessons. This experience has influenced his potential future plans to explore South America in hopes to work for a nonprofit that works with marginalized groups of people and their need for sustainability.
Jordan found that one of the benefits of working with the Friends of Five Rivers is the collaboration of likeminded individuals. With the ability to work together with a variety educators he is able to make every day discoveries more relevant. His educational background provided the big picture however Friends has enabled him to discover real life environmental scenarios. Jordan is excited each day to be outside, to learn and to share his knowledge to those that visit Five Rivers.