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A Journey from Intern to a Future in Wetland Conservation
Steffany Chavez completed Nature Collective’s Integrated Internship program this summer, gaining hands-on experience in water quality, habitat restoration, and land stewardship. “This is an amazing internship that gives you the opportunity to dive into different areas in environmental science.”, shares Steffany.
Above: Steffany collects data at one of Nature Collective’s monitoring sites.
Over the past nine months interning with Nature Collective, Steffany learned to use advanced equipment and software to collect water quality data, honed her knowledge of native and invasive plants, and guided volunteers in habitat restoration.
Above: A Baja California Treefrog found by Steffany
As she navigated the different trails and channels of San Elijo Lagoon, Steffany encountered the wonders of nature at every turn. Steffany shares that she enjoyed exploring, “I would see deer, frogs, and all kinds of spiders and plants.”
Today, Steffany continues to make a difference in wetland conservation. Now working for AZED Environmental, a consultant for Nature Collective, helping us monitor our recently completed San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Project, Steffany is helping to conduct soil sampling and identify fish and invertebrates at San Elijo Lagoon to monitor the lagoon’s health. She shares, “We have been seeing juvenile fish, which is a good sign for the ecosystem.”
Above: Steffany collects soil samples in San Elijo Lagoon.
With graduate school on the horizon, Steffany expresses gratitude for the Integrated Internship program helping her find her path in wetland conservation. “I found myself fearing the uncertainties that our future faces due to climate change and felt a lack of control for what my future held,” Steffany reflects. By focusing on the effects of microplastics on wetlands, she hopes to contribute to solutions to plastic pollution and help protect wetlands for wildlife and the community.
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Feature Image: Steffany Chavez at San Elijo Lagoon