Reflection: Throughout all of the craziness that has ensued from 2020, I am still so grateful that I had the opportunity to be a Sea Grant summer scholar and to have had the opportunity to work with the ODFW’s Marine Reserve Program. I’m thankful that everyone I’ve worked with has been so flexible with everything that has happened and that we all still pushed forward to make this internship happen. It’s pretty amazing to look back and see all of the work done by all of the other summer scholars as well.
Moving forward: Doing this internship only solidified that I’d like to continue in learning more about marine policies and marine outreach. With the recent wildfires that have happened across the Pacific Northwest, I only feel more motivated to engage more with the public on policies and knowledge of the environment.
Next steps: My next steps are to finish my couple of classes for undergrad. After finishing my undergrad, I am considering graduate school but I know I’d like to take a year off by either doing another internship, or working for a year for an organization that engages with the public about environmental education. It’s hard to solidify any of my plans though because we don’t know how long COVID-19 will affect travel, internships, jobs, etc.
As I move into the 2nd half of my internship, some things that I’ve learned on the job is that networking/meeting new people during COVID wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be, I’ve gained insight in the inner workings of the ODFW Marine Reserves Program and being able to read/write more about statistics.
What has surprised me the most about this work this summer is the difficulty of doing remote work. I have done some remote work before and I knew that with doing remote work there is always more of a learning curve, but I am trying my best!
If I could start the summer knowing what I know now, I would search for more webinars to attend. There were several webinars I would’ve liked to attend earlier in the summer, but I did not know about them. I also wish I reached out to more organizations/summer scholars to sit in on their meetings to learn more about what they were doing.
My view of science policy hasn’t changed too dramatically over the past several weeks. I’ve always revered it. I have definitely grown a better understanding of how policy organizations work though, and also an even deeper respect and awe for it. There’s a lot more that goes into the process than I realized. It’s been really neat to sit in on the ODFW Marine Reserve program team meetings and see how the team comes together. I do feel like I understand more how science policy operates in the state of Oregon, at least for the Marine Reserves Program. They have partnerships with many organizations that are within the state and also out of state.
I wouldn’t necessarily see any tradeoffs in the organization that I’ve been interning at between serving the public good and being able to respond nimbly. I think that the Marine Reserves program has been doing a great job in trying to educate the public about the Marine Reserves but still being on the side of science. For example, my project that I’m working for is creating a summarized report of the visitor intercept survey. It’s important that I’m not biased and put my own opinions in the paper about why I think the Marine Reserves should be kept. I’m simply stating the facts of the data, then the readers of the report can make their assessment about it.
I am inspired to continue in this line of work in the future. I think it’s incredibly important to have these surveys implemented to figure out what the public knows and does not know. Understanding what the public thinks is crucial for education and implementation of new policies. Although I’m very interested in marine policies, I’m also interested in recycling/waste policies. But at the core of both of those topics are issues caused by humans.
Thanks for reading – I hope everyone is staying safe!
This summer, I am interning with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on the Marine Reserves Program. I am working with the human dimensions team. My primary work duties will be looking at the visitor surveys that have been conducted in the past at the 5 Oregon Marine Reserves. After going over those reports, reading other relevant literature and the legislative history of the creation of the Marine Reserves, I will provide ODFW with a summary of my findings of the visitor surveys and connect it to the bigger picture of the program. Originally, my primary work duty would have been to conduct the last visitor survey of their report but because of COVID-19, that wasn’t possible anymore! I’m thankful ODFW Marine Reserves Program still kept me on and found work for me to do. Being a part of this internship also will help me network and meet people I’m not normally exposed to. For instance, I sit in on the weekly staff meetings and am able to converse with the whole team, even though I’m working primarily with the human dimensions team.
The project I’m working on will help ODFW submit their report to the Oregon legislature because the Marine Reserves will be evaluated in 2023. Those project goals help advance Oregon Sea Grant’s vision and mission because the Marine Reserve goals are about resiliency and sustainability for the coastal communities. ODFW’s mission statement is to “protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.” It’ll be really interesting to see how visitor’s interceptions have changed over the years, or if it has at all.