“Every day in the field has been an adventure, and I have not spent a day without witnessing something really amazing.”
- Matthew DeAngelo, GLOBE Intern
The Nature Conservancy’s Milnesand Prairie Preserve is hosting two summer interns experiencing nature for the first time as part of the Conservancy's GLOBE (Growing Leaders On Behalf of the Environment) program. These future leaders are helping us protect habitat for dunes sagebrush lizards, lesser prairie-chickens and more!
Masi Mejia and Matthew DeAngelo are mapping non-native trees around the preserve for removal, moving grazing exclosures, and surveying for black-tailed prairie dogs and burrowing owls.
Meet the interns and find out what adventures await in the hot prairie this summer.
My internship with the Conservancy has been an extremely diverse, eye opening, and educational experience. Being stationed in eastern New Mexico has given me the opportunity to see a completely new and spectacular part of the country.
I’ve been amazed by the local biodiversity, and I’ve been happy to take part in some of the efforts to restore the area to its natural state. Every day in the field has been an adventure, and I have not spent a day without witnessing something really amazing – from helping a herpetologist catch endangered lizards to having herds of pronghorn antelope run alongside the truck, to seeing the entire ecosystem spring to life after a summer rain. Every day is an adventure, and I wake up each morning excited to go to work.
My favorite aspect of this experience has been learning about the complex interactions between government, business, non-profit organizations and the local people. This is an area where conservation is delicately balanced with a variety of other valid interests, and my supervisor has been great in showing me all sides of every topic. Hearing the insights of some of the locals has further expanded my understanding of this relationship. I have realized that, in order for conservation to be successful, every voice must be heard and every concern must be addressed.
I hope to be able to direct my career towards answering some of the complex questions of how to protect nature in a way that benefits the greatest number of people. In that way, I can say that my experience with the Conservancy has been life changing.
When one thinks of New Mexico, one is quick to think of aliens, Billy the Kid, caverns and maybe even a desert. Lying in the southeast corner of New Mexico is the tiny town of Milnesand. In this small community, I am currently stationed to help with the management of the Milnesand Prairie Preserve.
I am given the opportunity to have a great hands-on learning experience. Upon my arrival on June 9, 2013, I felt that it was quite arid. It turns out that the area has been in a drought for the past three years.
Luckily, Milnesand and the surrounding communities received a few inches of rain this past week to hold them over for the summer. Today, Matt DeAngelo, (the other intern) and I drove around to map trees that will be taken down, since they are not native to the southern shortgrass prairie area. In my search for non-native trees, I was more excited to see the forbs that were coming up from the recent rain. Forbs, like purple prairie clover, scarlet globemallow, silverleaf nightshade, rushpea and Indian blanket were very showy.
Being a girl, I was overly joyed and excited for the forbs. What girl doesn’t love flowers, especially when Mother Nature hand delivers it?
I understand that it was the recent rain that helped these flowers bloom. I am hopeful that more rain will come as the summer progresses because not only do wildlife need it, but for residents of Milnesand, in particular, their livelihoods depend on it.
The community has been very receptive of the Conservancy and their goals in southeastern New Mexico. I feel blessed that the community has welcomed us as interns with open arms.
It’s been great to sit down with the locals and listen to their family histories of being homesteaders and farmers. They are interested in conservation for species like the lesser prairie chicken and dunes sagebrush lizard. I truly admire them for recognizing the big picture of protecting nature and preserving life.