Maddie Warner: Mid-Internship(s) Update

Wow, what an August! I’ve been working full steam ahead on my projects at Plastic Tides and The Ocean Foundation. I absolutely love both organizations: they’re both so different and I’ve learned so much from each team. 

The best part of working in Monterey? The weekend trips to Big Sur!

Plastic Tides

I’ve learned quite a bit about balancing commitments while working with Plastic Tides, and am incredibly grateful for the support my team has given me through the summer. I’ve been working on both content creation and the IGTV Speaker Series. Both projects are incredibly rewarding, but I’ve found it is sometimes easier to default to projects that have shorter, more immediate deadlines. However, I am excited to share that my project proposal is almost complete and I am excited to get it approved. Writing the proposal has definitely been challenging. I’ve worked to make sure all the pieces are present and understandable for internal and external participants, including the Plastic Tides leadership team and the groups of environmental professionals, Global Youth Mentor Program Mentors, and Global Youth Mentor Program Youth Leaders- and there are a lot of pieces. I’ve learned how to write and justify a budget, create elevator pitches of the project, a more developed summary of the project, and specific step by step instructions for participants in the project. I’ve hit a couple of mental roadblocks with concerns about scope and ability of this kind of project to succeed with the metrics I’ve laid out, but my team has been wonderful about talking through how to minimize those fears and maximize impact of this project. I didn’t really understand the complexities of writing a grant proposal, or project proposal like this one before, and can now confidently say that I have developed and written a project proposal.

Welcome to my home office!

The Ocean Foundation

My internship with TOF has been an amazing experience and a whirlwind. Every time I’ve been invited to attend a meeting, I am inspired and impressed with the people who are working on ocean conservation and deep seabed mining regulations. I started my internship with a few weeks on background information, updating what I had a general knowledge of and learning about the specific arguments that my supervisor wanted me to focus on. My tasks centered around bringing these complex, high-level arguments from the floor of the International Seabed Authority to the TOF online community through, what we named, “media packages.” As of this week, I’ve completed one media package and my second is in an internal review and editing process. The first package focused on calling out a mining company, The Metals Company, who is interested in deep seabed mining for PR statements that are contradictory to similar statements they have released to the US Securities and Exchange Commission. I created a blog, a Twitter thread, and Instagram slide carousel, for release on TOF’s website and other social media platforms. When I scrolled through my Instagram that day, it was rather surreal and incredibly thrilling to see my project on a public social media page.

I’ve learned so much from these projects and this internship. I used to be the kind of person who would rather not proofread my work or have someone else look at it for suggestions. However, that is the foundation of the type of communication work I am doing right now- and wow do I love and appreciate it. My supervisor has been incredibly supportive and shared my blog drafts with countless people in the conservation world to help me gather feedback and suggestions on how to improve, update, clarify, and reach the best audience. I’ve learned so much about how important it is to share and receive feedback whether it be for grammatical correction or idea generation, and I can tell that my writing is improving. In the beginning, it was challenging to understand the review processes and I had to grow to appreciate the suggestions and proposed edits. It is so freeing to have multiple deadlines, and build in periods of review and editing to create the best blog, Twitter thread, Instagram graphics, etc to put out there. Now, I’m so grateful for the internal review process, especially how it makes sure that TOF’s brand identity is clear to its audience. I’ve realized that sometimes after looking at a document for a while, there are still edits and suggestions that can be made. I am so grateful for the help I received and I’ve learned a ton about communications, design, storytelling, and science communication. Not to forget the technical information, too!

Some weary sea lions wanted to join my meetings last week…

My internships have been challenging and inspiring in all the best ways. I feel confident that I can pinpoint specific successes and skills I have developed from working with both organizations, plus I am thrilled to see the impact that my work has had. This work is incredibly inspiring! and I look forward to continuing working in the non-profit sector.

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