DOINews: USFWS: Jacqueline Keating, Intern to Volunteer to Ranger

Last edited 09/05/2019

Jacqueline Keating from New York's Adirondack Mountains had such a great experience on a Student Conservation Association (SCA) internship last summer in southeastern Utah that she wanted to do a second term with SCA. A posting for a winter internship at Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska seemed like an exciting (if not logical) move after summer in the desert, so she arrived in October and ended up staying on as a volunteer through spring after her SCA term ended. This summer she'll be in Kodiak as a seasonal ranger.

Jacqueline Keating
Jacqueline Keating leads a Families Understanding Nature Program. Photo by USFWS

She volunteers because . . .

Volunteering with the Park Service and then U.S. Fish and Wildlife has been a fantastic way to learn more about our nation's wildlife and land management systems. I am very thankful that professionals in the field are so willing to share their time and expertise. I am also excited that volunteering created the opportunity to stay in Kodiak this summer for my first seasonal ranger position before starting graduate school in the fall.

What do you most enjoy?

Jacqueline created a video to thank partners of the 2014 Kodiak Envirothon:

Kodiak is an incredibly active community that truly values networking and protecting our natural resources. I have really enjoyed working with partners like the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to host a local Envirothon competition for high school students, collaborating with the Island Trails Network for a public video editing workshop, and engaging with non-profits like Media Action to put a local spin on our Conservation Film Series. The refuge's weekly Families Understanding Nature Program for 3 to 5 year olds gets children excited about nature from the very beginning; it is one of many ways that I get to help maintain a relationship between the natural expanses of the refuge and the people that interact with it both directly and indirectly.

What has been the most difficult part of volunteering for the feds?

Having the government shut down mere hours before the planned start of a volunteer stint on the opposite side of the country is an interesting way to enter a new job… but since then, it's been smooth sailing!

What has been your favorite experience?

In February, I had the opportunity to travel to Homer and Kenai. It was great to be on a road system, see more of Alaska, and meet the wonderful people working in other areas of FWS. In addition, I feel very lucky when I can bike to work or go trail running along the Pacific during my lunch break and have my breath taken away every time. Those “wow” moments are a critical component to staying enthusiastic about our work, and they are not hard to come by in a place like Kodiak. So my favorite experience is every day that I remember to be thankful for where I am and the place I get to help protect.

By: Kristen Gilbert, USFWS

April 30, 2014

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