This past week was the Latino Heritage Internship Program career workshop in Colorado. I must admit I was super nervous (but excited) to meet all of the other interns. In the end I don’t know why I was so nervous. Everyone was friendly and it was nice hearing about everyone’s summer. I felt like we all ended up pretty close by the end of the conference. I want to thank Susan Bonfield, Paloma Bolasny, Daniel Lopez, Rodrigo, Liz and all of the other Environment for the Americas (EFTA) staff who made this conference such an amazing experience. You guys put so much work into making this summer possible for us, and I feel as if you don’t hear the words “thank you” enough. This past weekend was informative and full of adventure. It was another great part to an unforgettable summer.

Presenting at NPS Intermountain Regional Office

The resume building portion of the workshop was extremely helpful. It’s always nice to have another pair of eyes reading your resume and making suggestions. I definitely feel more confident about applying through USAJOBS now. During the conference I presented a poster on community engagement at Fire Island National Seashore (FIIS). Preparing for the presentation was interesting because I learned more about previous projects/programs my park has been a part of. I was super happy that I got to meet Susan Bonfield during the conference. Her research has played a big role in better understanding the dynamic between FIIS and its gateway communities. I also hear great things about the Park Flight Program which was a collaboration with Environment for the Americas.

12,005 feet above sea level

I loved the behind the scenes look at Rocky Mountain National Park (ROMO)! It was great talking to the staff at ROMO and hearing about how they got their start in the National Park Service (NPS). It was nice to be outdoors feeling the fresh air. While at ROMO some of us visited the park greenhouse. We learned about several tactics that the park is taking in order maintain the native plant species. One of the most successful methods of propagating seeds was collecting them from bear poop. The acids in the stomach aid in the digestion of the seed coating, so when the seed is collected from the poop it’s ready to grow. The biologists have tried other methods to mimic that process, but nothing has produced the same yield. We helped out in the greenhouse by potting Wood’s Rose (Rosa woodsii). Getting a chance to work in the garden was fun. There’s something very relaxing about gardening with a view of the mountains. While at ROMO I hiked to my highest elevation! I have lived close to sea level my entire life and I was definitely feeling the effects of the elevation. Overall, my favorite part of the conference was being surrounded by a motivated and intelligent Latino community. I hope that everyone has continued success on their journey through life.

This week was supposed to be my last at Fire Island, but I’m excited to announce that my internship has been extended! I’m happy because I feel like 10 weeks was not enough time. I’m thankful that I get the opportunity to continue learning at my park.

Like many of us said during the workshop: Encontré mi parque

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Written by Roxana Saravia
Roxana Saravia is from New York and grew up on Long Island. She is the first American-born child of immigrants from El Salvador. Roxana obtained a degree in Bioscience from SUNY Farmingdale (Class of 2016) and is a first-generation college graduate. She is planning on persuing her masters in Marine Biology. Roxana enjoys reading, hiking, and going to the beach. She is an avid traveler and hopes to see as much of the world as possible.