This summer, Jeanette Lambert, a forest recreation management junior, spent two months completing a wide variety of projects for the Houston Audubon Society as an intern in their education department. From creating maps and brochures to inventorying bird specimens and conducting outreach, Lambert gave back to an organization and nature center that has been an integral part of her life since childhood.
What where your duties as an intern?
I worked at Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center (SBUNC) in Southeast Houston, and my main project throughout the internship was to develop a map of the property that showed the trails and landmarks at the site. The map included some labeled plant species on the property, along with a list of the species names. I then designed a brochure that included the map and list of species and provided information about SBUNC and the Houston Audubon Society. They hope to be able to have a larger version of the map to display when visitors enter the cabin.
Another main project was to identify, label and inventory bird specimens and organize them in a specimen cabinet. I also fed and cared for the animals used for educational programs, which included a rooster, a hen, seven pigeons, an eastern screech owl, a flying squirrel, a smooth sided toad, a corn snake, a three-toed box turtle, a Hermann’s tortoise and a ball python. Additionally, I maintained trails by removing invasive species, debris and overgrowth, and assisted the staff in a variety of camp and outreach activities.
How has this experience been beneficial your undergraduate career?
This experience has given me insight into what to expect when I enter my career. It gave me hands-on experience, knowledge of useful resources and networking opportunities.
What was your favorite part about the internship?
My favorite part had to be the summer camps – seeing these kids every day for a week and experiencing how excited they get when they walk through the gate. They’re ready to learn and can’t wait to see what we have planned. At the end of the day they ran to their parents showing off their crafts and told them everything they learned. Seeing the changes in their attitudes and interests in nature was the best part. And, of course, getting to care for and handle the animals used for educational activities was an awesome experience.
How did you learn about the internship?
I had volunteered at SBUNC for four summers during high school. It was while volunteering at one of their summer camps I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in environmental and outdoor education. I kept in touch with the education director, Mary Anne Weber, and she emailed me in the spring asking if I was interested in being her intern for the summer. She initially wanted me to intern for the entire summer, but since I had to take field station classes, she agreed to let me start once I completed field station.
You were invited to speak at the annual Houston Audubon fundraising gala. Can you tell us more about that?
At the beginning of October, the events coordinator of Houston Audubon contacted me and asked if I would be interested in giving a short speech at their annual fundraising gala. This year’s gala was focusing on the education department and highlighted Mary Anne. They asked me to talk about my childhood experiences at Sims Bayou Urban Nature Center and how attending those programs inspired me to not only return and volunteer, but to then pursue a career in the field because of it. My presence and my speech were a surprise to Mary Anne and she was very moved.