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Our GLOBE intern reflects on the summer and her time spent in the field capturing the sights and sounds of Virginia's public preserves.

By Glenna Goldman

It’s been great to be a part of The Nature Conservancy, and to continue the ever-expanding conservation efforts put into motion by the organization. I moved to Richmond from Iowa in June, and I’ve had a fantastic summer.  I want people to be as excited about exploring the outdoors as I am.  Moving to Virginia has given me the opportunity to do even more hiking, biking, and kayaking.  In writing about my summer adventures, I have begun calling them my Virginia Voyages.

My internship's main goal was to increase public awareness of the preserves in Virginia. I created photo and video content documenting the unique aspects of several selected preserves.  My first day out in the field I traveled to Fraser Preserve with TNC field staff and another GLOBE intern, Jennifer Sun.  Jennifer was there working on an audio tour of the preserve. It was perfect weather and my companions helped me by spotting wildlife for me to record. We hiked through woods, along the river, and in floodplain wetlands. During the hike we saw and heard many insects, frogs, turtles, a white-tailed deer, and even an owl. My first solo trip was to Voorhees, a preserve along the Rappahannock River.  My next trip to Falls Ridge Preserve in Montgomery County offered great footage of the waterfalls and a chance to try out my GoPro camera.

After an overnight and breakfast in Blacksburg, I headed to Bottom Creek Gorge. This was not as easy to find.  TNC is working to update the directions to all of Virginia's preserves to make finding them easier.  I chose to follow my GPS as opposed to the directions on the preserve's webpage. Poor choice.  I eventually found it and the view of that waterfall was definitely worth it! I couldn’t quite capture it the way I wanted to on camera, so you’ll just have to go see it in person!

I traveled to Fortune's Cove, near Lovingston, with two friends from my hiking group.  It is definitely my favorite preserve yet.  Because I’ve been hiking so much, I really appreciated the challenging trail and great views.  There was a lot of plant and animal diversity, but it was too hot for larger critters such as deer to be out.  It is a bit harder to get the shots that you want while you’re hiking with people, since it limits your chance of surprising the animals. You feel bad taking a lot of time, because you know they want to keep going.  Despite that fact, this might be my favorite video!

There were still several preserves to see as my internship was coming to a close.  First a boat ride at Cumberland Marsh and then a long drive to Warm Springs Mountain.  I photographed the LEAF interns who were there working, clearing trails, and removing invasive species. It was great to meet them, and I encouraged them to apply for GLOBE internships when they're in college.  I made a second trip to Voorhees to photograph a group from the Izaak Walton League on a hike through the preserve.  It made me miss working at camp.  I got to tag along with them for a wagon tour of the berry farm next door.

For my final trip, I joined a colleague from the Maryland chapter for a visit to the Virginia Coast Reserve.  We went kayaking at dusk and stayed overnight at the historic Brownsville mansion.  A boat ride offered a chance to learn about eelgrass restoration and see thriving oysters beds. It was a great last trip and nice to see The Nature Conservancy's successful efforts on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

I can’t thank everyone at the Virginia Chapter enough for this wonderful opportunity. I’d especially like to thank my supervisor, Whitney Hall, for being so encouraging and accommodating. I’d also like to thank Kate Hibbard, Sam Truslow, Lindsay Renick Mayer, and all of the other TNC staff who assisted with my travels throughout Virginia. I hope my videos continue to provide inspiration for people to get outside and enjoy Virginia’s gorgeous preserves.

I hope to see you on the trails!

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