In the five months I’ve spent interning with The Wildlife Society – Government Affairs team, I have grown leaps and bounds professionally and personally. Be it in tuning my writing for TWS publications or attaining the skills and self-assurance to effectively lobby Congress. The respect and confidence that was bestowed upon myself and my fellow intern by the TWS staff has been an inspiration.
Anyways… On a lighter last note, I wanted to share some thoughts and resources to help our conservationists out there make the best of exploring the outdoors this summer.
As I plan to leave the urban jungle of DC for the high desert of Oregon, an ecosystem of which I have no prior experience, I went on a search for any tools that may better my understanding of the natural systems at work.
Of course, the first stop for me is the Wikipedia page giving the most general information and some good sources for in depth research on where I’m headed. Next, I recommend a quick cruise to the local used book store. I would recommend a neat vintage book, perhaps with stained and flaky pages including drawn images. I bet you’d be more inclined to flip through this than scan an e-book on your tablet. Old audubon books and wildlife/vegetation/hiking books are great resources to have around. Although some of the information may be dated, the vintage value and overall quality should suffice.
The next step, if you take part in the whole technology/internet/smartphone fad everyone is talking about, is to find some good apps that will increase your efficiency and/or safety out in the field. Anything from locating and learning about local nature paths, identifying species, watching live wildlife cams, and even looking at satellite imagery to witness land use changes over time are available on your phone these days. A full list of apps and many other ways in which technology can bring us closer to wildlife can be found here.
However, all of these auxiliary actions and gear shouldn’t take away from the real intent of being outdoors, which is to escape the augmented reality we construct around us. Being immersed in nature, at least from time to time, builds the desire to preserve it and helps stem the creativity and passion needed to be an effective steward of the land. While technology can help us get outside and efficiently fulfill our goals once out there, it should be important to let oneself, at times, be free from technological burdens and cleared paths.
It is important to appreciate, respect, and continue to nurture the curiosity that brought each of us into the field of conservation.
TWS members and staff,
Stay Gold. Thank You.