New Season New Interns!
Hello everyone, let us introduce ourselves!
My name is Caroline and I’m one of the new Fall interns at the Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge. I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Marine and Freshwater Biology degree. I was born and raised in Texas but I was excited at the opportunity to move somewhere new, so far I love Madison and am excited to spend time here in the Midwest. I’ve always had an interest in the outdoors from a recreational standpoint such as hiking, camping, fishing, paddleboarding, etc., and decided I wanted to take up conservation as a career to help protect vulnerable and important environments that benefit society in many ways.
I’m Mark and I am the other Fall intern here at Big Oaks! I grew up in Florida and graduated with an Entomology degree from the University of Florida. I’m glad to see a new part of the country and learn about a different environment, as well as gain more knowledge of vertebrate biology. I enjoy many outdoor hobbies like fishing, hiking, birding, kayaking, and camping, so Big Oaks is really a great place for me. I am also interested in pursuing a career in conservation.
We started off our first week here with a tour of the refuge where we saw different ecosystems as well as learning about all of the history of the refuge (there’s always a new fun fact to learn). We encountered lots of different species including turkeys, orb weaver spiders, monarch butterflies, and northern flickers.
We both were able to help other members of the office staff this week, including “swamping” which is helping clean up tree debris off the roads after it has been chainsawed. Additionally, Caroline helped collect plants on the refuge for identification and Mark helped with checking road conditions.
Along with exploring we’ve also been tackling all of the logistical things to start work like our online defensive driving and wildland fire training courses, which will allow us to help with prescribed fire burnings. We’re also gearing up for weekend deer hunts to start!
It’s been a dry summer here, so a lot of the creeks are dry but it allows you to see the beautiful rock formations. Here’s a picture of a creek bed we saw while exploring.
There are also different species of amphibians found on the refuge as well. Below is a Fowler’s Toad, commonly found throughout Indiana.
We also caught a glimpse of a beautiful monarch enjoying the flowers on the refuge.