Learning the Calls of the Birds:
Katie Bootsma’s 2019 QLF Internship
Katie Bootsma, from The Taft School (of which our own QLF President Emeritus, Larry Morris, is an alumnus), wrote this article summarizing her experience in this year’s 2019 Biodiversity Conservation Internship in New Brunswick.
At the end of June, this year’s New Brunswick Conservation and Stewardship Project welcomed a strongly-built and diverse team of five Interns and Volunteers. Joining the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s historic Biodiversity Conservation Internship Program was Intern Tabea Vischer, environmental geographer; Intern François-Xavier Grandmont, ornithologist and biologist; Intern Alexis Newman, environmental journalist; Volunteer Maile Kuyper, environment and sustainability activist; and Volunteer Katie Bootsma, field writer and environmental enthusiast.
The Internship was divided into three chapters and took place across various parts of New Brunswick, concentrated on bird monitoring and youth education. In following with QLF’s spirited tradition of empowering and educating communities on the topic of conservation, the team delivered informative workshops to youth at local community centers and camps. Additionally, this project was delivered in partnership with the Nature Trust of New Brunswick and focused on conducting sea and songbird surveys at privately protected areas across the province. In between these early-morning song-bird surveys and afternoon powerpoint point presentations, QLF Interns also participated in beach clean-ups and community nature walks.
Setting off on the first chapter of the Internship, the team travelled to Bocabec, New Brunswick where they were introduced to birding, beach clean-ups, and New Brunswick culture. While learning the ropes of shorebird surveying and experiencing the warmth of St. Andrew’s locals, each Intern prepared presentations and activities to share with children in the area. The slideshows and games, spotlighting topics such as marine debris and climate change, sought to enhance stewardship, provoke environmental awareness, and promote sustainable practices.
In the Bay of Fundy Region, youth workshops were delivered at the St. George and Glen Carpenter YMCA camps. During these workshops, the team engaged smalls groups of fifteen campers through food web games and bog body facts. The young campers, especially enamored by the sight and sound of Francois-Xavier’s ornithology-focused presentation, were ecstatic to try their hand at bird identification. After an afternoon of sharing binoculars and intently listening for the melodies of local fowl, the campers exclaimed their excitement and new-found interest in birding. The Interns left behind a group of budding environmentalists at St. George’s YMCA camp, in particular; the campers and counsellors, so motivated by the day’s activities, planned field trips to visit nearby preserves to birdwatch, hike, and simply be in nature!
In addition to clam digging, visiting the Atlantic Salmon Foundation, and hiking with local naturalist clubs, QLF’s Interns and Volunteers worked on their surveying skills. After building their basic sea-birding foundation with Chris Ward at Saints Rest Marsh, the team went on to survey Caughey Taylor Pond, Connor Brothers Nature Preserve, Taggart’s Brook Pond, Pagan Point, Beausoleil, and Frye’s Island.
Whether it was visiting old friends or forming new bonds, this first chapter of the New Brunswick Conservation and Stewardship Project would be incomplete without the generosity and lighthearted nature of locals in St. Andrews and Bocabec. A special thanks to Lee Sochasky, Walter Emerich, and Andrew Stokes Rees for their kindness and enthusiasm in showing QLF all that New Brunswick has to offer.
Katie’s time with QLF came to an end after this first chapter. For the second and third chapters of the Internship the team continued on to Plaster Rock and Tabusintac, where they performed beach clean-ups, engaged youth at the Knowlesville Art & Nature Centre, and surveyed many more nature preserves. We would like to thank Katie for all her valuable contributions to the program and wish her all the best with her college applications and future endeavors!
Stories from Skidmore:
Hannah Hoey’s 2018 QLF Internship
Hannah Hoey, a recent Skidmore College graduate, recently completed her Global Leadership Network & Conservation Internship at QLF in Montreal.
Hannah’s work focused on a new Biodiversity Conservation program in New Brunswick, where she planned program components, including the education and engagement of area youth, and researched and pursued funding opportunities.
QLF had a phenomenal group of 2018 Conservation Interns, and Hannah is no exception! You can read much more about her experience this summer on Skidmore’s Summer Funded Experiences blog:
- About the Organisation: The Quebec-Labrador Foundation: Find out why Hannah decided to join QLF to expand her work in conservation and culture
- About the Role: What I’ve Been Doing: Hannah details her work on a new program in New Brunswick, and shares her newfound skills
- About the Future: How, and Why, You Should Get Involved: Hannah’s final blog post encourages students to pursue their own Internship experience, and explains why QLF Internships are developing the next generation of conservationists
Each year, QLF hires Interns and Volunteers from numerous academic institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada for placement in programs in New England, Eastern Canada, and overseas. Undergraduate and graduate students work closely with QLF’s staff and partners on a wide range of programs and activities in the field and in the organization’s offices in Montreal and Ipswich.
Partnerships with universities remain invaluable for the continued growth of QLF’s leadership development program. QLF has historically received sponsored Interns from a variety of institutions, including Duke University, Princeton University, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Skidmore College.
“The ethic of environmental stewardship and the compassion that QLF demonstrates through all of the work that you do represent an incredible model for the way I’d like to live my life, with real purpose that will hopefully affect some good on even the tiniest percentage of the world population.”
– Joseph Abbate, Piping Plover Conservation Project, 2015
A Summer of Adventure:
Emily Erdos’ 2017 QLF Internship
QLF Intern, Emily Erdos from Princeton University created a five-minute video of her Internship with QLF over the 2017 summer. A thought provoking and inspiring video, Emily documents her experience working in the field on Biodiversity Conservation in New Brunswick, and writing articles on QLF’s Global Leadership Network of Alumni conservation leaders worldwide.
This video was made as a report to the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), an Alumni-founded non-profit organization that has sponsored Princeton University students as QLF Interns since its founding in 1996.
Video produced by Emily Erdos
To get a sense of the life of a QLF Intern – and for updates from current and recent interns – take a look at the QLF Intern Blog!
Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS), a nonprofit Princeton alumni organization that supports students in their pursuit of careers in non-profit and service work, has featured QLF Internships in their 2015 PICS Annual Report. Please click on the thumbnail to read the feature article, in which QLF President Larry Morris and 2015 QLF Intern Anna Maritz discuss the impact of QLF’s Leadership Program and QLF’s longstanding partnership with PICS.
“Throughout the summer I have established working and personal relationships with dedicated people around the world. These are the type of people I hope to surround myself with and am excited to see where their paths will take them. My connections through the GLN have already sown the seeds of future professional networking opportunities.”
– Katy Litka, Southeast Asia Conservation Exchange Program, 2015
“This great stewardship and birding experience surely helped me to become a better biologist and I am really proud to now be a part of the QLF family.”