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Highlight: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Interns

From research and restoration projects to education and communication initiatives, interns form a critical part of the Corkscrew team.

RESEARCH: On a brisk winter morning, the research team heads into the field carrying equipment to sample aquatic fauna, just one portion of data that research intern Sam Goss collects. Each day in the field is unique, as interns assist with trail monitoring, wading bird surveys, hydrologic monitoring, and more. In the lab, Goss and the teamwork directly with data through both entry and processing. The primary goal of the research program is to collect and provide ecological data to land managers, Audubon’s policy team, and decision-makers.

RESTORATION: Adrenaline courses through Ayanna Browne’s veins as Corkscrew’s prescribed fire boss starts a test fire. The target: 250-acres of pine flatwoods and wet prairies. Throughout the day, the crew monitors the firebreaks and weather, changing ignition techniques as on-the-ground conditions vary. Browne learns about all prescribed fire operations, including planning, execution, suppression, and the ever-important mop-up stage. In addition, land management focused conservation interns experience restoration, invasive plant identification, and eradication techniques first-hand.

EDUCATION: Class time looms closer as Corkscrew Education Intern AnnaFaith Jorgensen works quickly to set up the stations for the 2nd Grade Insect Adventure Program. After making sure everything is in place, Jorgensen guides the youth along a trail, teaches them about insects, and illustrates adaptation, habitat, and interdependence. Many students have never had an opportunity to explore the world in this unique way and faces light up as they engage with the natural world around them under the guidance of the Jorgensen and trained volunteers. During her six months at Corkscrew, Jorgensen leads additional fifth-grade programs, and a variety of public and private guided walks, After Hours events, and more.

Thank you to Anne Drackett Thomas, Florida Power & Light Company, Frederick S. Upton Foundation, Robinson Foundation, and Vincent J. Coates Foundation for funding Corkscrew’s recent conservation, research, and environmental education interns.

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