MNA Seeks Summer Stewardship Interns

By Annie Perry, MNA Intern

MNA is looking for Natural Area Stewardship interns for summer 2013. Under supervision of MNA’s stewardship staff, interns will focus on maintaining natural communities on MNA sanctuaries and will work with some of the most intact native natural communities in Michigan.

2012 Summer Stewardship Interns

Rebecca Andrews, Rowanna Humphreys and Cara Burwell were stewardship interns at the Newaygo Prairie Nature Sanctuary in summer 2012. Photo by Matt Schultz.

Summer internships may last from May until August, but the exact dates are negotiable. The hours, location and projects are all flexible—interns can work two to four days a week, can work in most parts of Michigan, and can get involved on a project that interests them. Interns can participate in conducting invasive species management, conducting plant and animal surveys, boundary making, sanctuary monitoring, leading volunteers, management plan writing, trail maintenance, and other tasks as assigned.

This past summer, MNA had four stewardship interns: Michigan State University environmental biology student Sam Edelen and Grand Valley State University natural resource management students Rebecca Andrews, Cara Burwell and Rowanna Humphreys.  Sam worked with Katherine Hollins, the regional stewardship organizer for the eastern Lower Peninsula, on several projects at sanctuaries in the eastern Lower Peninsula. Rebecca, Cara and Rowanna worked with Matt Schultz, the regional stewardship organizer for the western Lower Peninsula, at the Newaygo Prairie Nature Sanctuary. The four interns mainly worked on invasive species control and removal.

Sam’s work on invasive species removal, roughly 120 hours in all, was extremely important to helping the natural biodiversity of the sanctuaries’ plants and animals. Because invasive species threaten the habitats of native plants and animals—including those that are of special concern, threatened or endangered—they must be managed in order to promote the area’s natural biodiversity.

“I spend a significant amount of my field time on invasive species, and it is wonderful to have another pair of eyes and hands to help,” Katherine said of Sam’s assistance at the sanctuaries.

There’s more to MNA internships that protecting the land; through hands-on experience at some of MNA’s beautiful sanctuaries, summer stewardship interns learn more about the natural environment and develop skills they can apply to their future careers. A highlight of the internship for Cara was seeing the succession of the prairie at the Newaygo Prairie Nature Sanctuary and learning about the sanctuary’s plant species. And Rebecca, who hopes to work in habitat restoration or wildlife management once she finishes her degree, plans to spread the invasive species removal techniques she learned during her internship to others with similar interests.

But for Rowanna, the beauty of the Newaygo Prairie Nature Sanctuary was what made the internship worthwhile.

“The view of the prairie was always breathtaking and so peaceful every time I went there,” she said. “It made me want to work there so that we wouldn’t lose that view to invasive species.”

For more information on the internship, please contact Andrew Bacon, stewardship coordinator at 517-655-5655 or abacon@michigannature.org.  Application materials should include a resume, cover letter and two references.

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