by Megan Grover
As part of The Nature Conservancy's Diversity Intern Program, the Idaho Chapter was selected to have an intern for 10 weeks this summer.
The goals of the program are to increase diversity within the Conservancy while helping to increase capacity in the field. The program matches academically outstanding university students with field programs and mentors.
That brought outstanding student Megan Kanaga to the Boise office to work with our Landscape Toolbox team, who are developing innovative tools to better monitor sagebrush conservation efforts. Megan came to the Conservancy during a break from pursuing her Ph.D. at Utah State University. I had the opportunity to sit down with Megan and discuss her experiences as a diversity intern at TNC.
I have been checking the Conservancy website for the last year or so because I have been interested in working for the Conservancy for a while, and saw the internship posted there. I actually had been really interested in the Conservancy since High School, but I didn't really know much about the organization at that time. But since I've gone to graduate school and learned a lot about ecology and conservation scince I've come to appreciate the organization's focus on science and I'm even more interested in the organization now.
I had been considering trying to do an internship with The Nature Conservancy for a while, but I had field work for my graduate research project every summer until this one. This spring I had most of my writing for my dissertation in the final stages, and I decided it would be a good time to take the summer off and get some outside experience.
I have tried to keep my background very well-rounded. I have always been interested in a lot of aspects of conservation, including a bunch of different subfields of conservation science, but also a lot of the social and political sides of conservation as well. I have been at Utah State University for the last five years working on my Ph.D in Ecology studying genetic diversity and biodiversity conservation. My background is in scientific research but I have worked on a lot of different projects with different study organisms and ecosystems, and have tried to gain as many skills as I can that will be relevent to conservation.
Since my internship is only ten weeks in duration I haven't had to move much stuff, and I have been back and forth every other weekend between Boise and Logan, Utah. I have really enjoyed exploring the Boise area and I would definitely like to live in Boise long-term.
My time with The Nature Conservancy has been really great. I had high expectations for this internship, but they have been exceeded in almost every way! I have been involved in some really interesting and challenging work and have learned a lot of new skills that will be very relevant to many other projects. I have been able to work on a variety of different things, and have learned a ton!
I would absolutely love to work for this organization in the future. One of my objectives in this internship was to determine if I liked the Conservancy as much in practice as I did on paper, and I definitely do. I have spent several years doing academic research and I am very eager to apply the principles I've learned in academia to more pratical conservation issues. The Conservancy seems to be very good at taking good science and putting it to work in the real world, and I would love to be a part of that!
The best thing about this internship has been getting an inside view of how the Conservancy works and learning about how real conservation work gets done. I have been able to attend several meetings and observe how the Conservancy makes partnerships with agencies, other nonprofits, and landowners, and it has been really interesting to see this process unfold. I really like the collaborative nature of the work at The Nature Conservancy.
Megan Grover works in The Nature Conservancy's Boise Office.