The last week has been mostly indoors, partly because of the weather, and partly because of the project I’ve been working on. The refuge has a boardwalk stretching over the Impoundment, with a series of paintings of birds and turtles known to be seen around there. The paintings are a few years old, and extremely faded from the rain and heat. So, over the last week I have been repainting the signs. It’s slow going– even with Jenelle and another volunteer painting as well, only two are fully completed, and another two are half completed. The paintings look so much better for it though; just sanding down the wood made them look newer, and the touched up colors make the birds almost look real. I think it’s kind of funny that I get to do this project. I wanted to be an artist when I was younger, and I still draw and make stuff in my free time. Once I decided to pursue environmental science as a career though, I told myself that I would figure out a way to do art in my job, whether it was just for my own amusement or for the field I ended up working in. I thought this would be years down the road, when I had more control over my work. Instead, I get to fulfill that promise–which I made around age 14–right now, in an internship, because the refuge staff saw it was a project I would really enjoy doing, and they thought I could do a good job with it. So, thank you, John Heinz staff!!!
This past week was also the start of the Student Conservation Association community crew program for Philadelphia high school students. About 50 students came to the refuge for training on Monday and Tuesday, so that they could finish paperwork and get an idea of the work they would be doing this summer. On Tuesday, the refuge staff had to talk to the students, so that they could learn more about the refuge and the kinds of careers that could be available to them. This meant I had to talk as well, since I am an alumni of the community program and still a part of SCA for this internship. The funniest part of the day was introducing the students to the Teddy Roosevelt mascot of John Heinz refuge. Every year, someone has to dress up in the bear costume for the SCA event, and this year an alumni did it. The students thought it was pretty funny, especially when Mariana revealed who was in the costume. Ha ha!