My project this summer was not only fulfilling and meaningful, it was fun. Good, real, wake up excited fun. I really enjoyed the thought puzzles of putting together a field trip that was connected enough to flow well but not so connected that each activity was fully dependent on the last. I appreciated the creative freedom to structure the program the way I wanted and come up with ways to make the learning experience fun for students. I adored the opportunities I had to add to my photo/video journalistic skills capturing b-roll on hikes, interviewing rangers, and putting together time lapses.

The job itself was made even more satisfying and joyful by the staff and location. Everyone I have met here has treated me with respect and the relaxed environment fits my light, silly nature perfectly. The scenery is beautiful and it is refreshing to be constantly close to nature whether I am at home or at work. The extra curriculars I have been able to do (whitewater rafting, hiking, girl scout camps, Active Southern West Virginia activities, and the world Jamboree) were just icing on the cake of a summer well spent.

All of this being said, I wish I could come back when schools start up to see how my program fairs in its intended purpose and continue adjustments to make it absolutely perfect. Creating a program like this is something I feel I could do over and over again. If I could make this into a full time position, I would. Just going from park to park, learning the natural features that each park has to offer, creating educational trips based on the natural environment, and sending them off for the park management to implement would be an ideal job for me. It is something I feel I would never get bored of. Often times when undergraduates or recent graduates take internships, they find that they learn more about what they don’t want to do than what they would like to do in the future. This has been the case for me before, but not now. This position has shown me exactly what I want in a future permanent position, and I can use its characteristics as standards to judge other opportunities from now on.

In conclusion, thank you, thank you, thank you to MIS for this whale of an opportunity, and for proving that the saying “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life,” is not just a figure of speech.

Standing at Grandveiw Tunnel Trail with completed field trip backpack.

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