WWF Internship Wrap-up

What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

While a remote internship is about as exciting as it sounds, I managed to make the most of my remote work by surfing in between meetings, camping on the weekends, forcing Sam Naujokas to edit my writing, and connecting with fellow interns. I was extremely well supported and involved during my time with WWF, especially by my supervisor Wendy Goyert. WWF implemented a brand new virtual internship program that was incredibly well organized, prioritized our career growth, and provided interns with the networking tools that are necessary to break into the world of conservation. The majority of my work was independent research on participatory processes and governance mechanisms for engaging stakeholders in decision making processes regarding local fisheries. The main goal of my project was to aid the WWF Peru team in constructing a larger document that would be used to inform the Peruvian government on processes which their Mahi Mahi and Giant Squid fisheries could take to engage stakeholders and create sustainably managed fisheries. 

My work wife, always there whenever I need him!

My internship on the sustainable fisheries team under Wendy was so well organized, even during COVID times. While I was sad not to be in DC working directly with Wendy and playing ultimate frisbee during lunch, I had the chance to explore California and Oregon while also working remotely. 

Weekend trips to local California beauties

Describe the benefits of this experience for you professionally and personally?

School is important, but experience is where the real learning takes place. When you’re in class, you are told exactly what to do and how to do it, but in the field you are literally flying by the seat of your pants. While I felt incredibly supported by WWF, I had to quickly become an expert on all things related to fisheries. I spent several hours a day just learning what the terms I was reading about meant. I found myself starting the day with very little knowledge of the topics on the table, and quickly becoming an expert before the sun went down. This is not the time to be picky, rather the time to use every opportunity as a stepping stone toward my dream career. I won’t get there tomorrow, or even in the next 10 years, but I will learn alot along the way that will all add up to get me where I want to go. 

Surfing every Panda Friday!

Did your experience provide any unexpected discovery, self-reflection, or epiphany?

Studying environmental policy isn’t always the happiest topic. It’s very easy to get depressed or frustrated by all of the factors harming the planet today. However, sitting in on meetings and hearing discussion of efforts taking place, as well as hearing the passion in everyone’s voices, gives me so much hope for a future where people and the planet thrive.  

It’s a terrifying time to be 25, as the world is literally on fire, people are starving, our country is divided, and families all over the globe are fleeing their homes. So many people my age are thinking about their futures with kids and a family, but that’s the last thing on my mind while our world is burning. It’s hard to be hopeful in today’s political climate, but the alternative is not an option. When we stop seeking hope and solutions to the looming climate crisis, we are giving up. My time with WWF instilled a newfound sense of hope that I’ve been severely lacking this past year. 

Working and speaking directly with leaders within WWF such as the CEO, CFO, various heads of departments, and the entire oceans team, has fueled my passion to dive headfirst into conservation. This internship has helped me feel less overwhelmed about the road ahead of me and more inspired about my role in the process of change. It’s exciting to feel like I’m finally in a place where my individual actions really do matter and make a difference.

Exploring Crater Lake in Oregon on one of my many weekend adventures

Communicate the wins!

We are halfway done! My internship with WWF started with a project in participatory processes in Peruvian fisheries and continued with work on the communications team. With the help of other team members on the communications team, I interviewed partners at various Fishery In Progress projects around the world to discuss their wins! This was a welcomed assignment as it is always nice to hear of all the great things WWF is doing, not just the horror stories we hear about in the news related to the state of the world. Working with the communications team has been helpful in understanding that good work is being done, even if we don’t always hear about it. I had the chance to speak with our team in Peru, The Bahamas, Ecuador, and the US to discuss what success stories WWF was proud of. I took these interviews with the team and created easy-to-digest “blurbs” to incorporate into the website. The idea is that a general audience can quickly read these blurbs that will cycle through at the bottom of the page and get a small taste of our work. Here is a sweet photo of some IEP ladies and myself working together in the community garden. While internships have been remote this summer, we have been able to have fun and feel like a family.

Internship with World Wildlife Fund

For my internship, I will be working for the fisheries division of the World Wildlife Fund Oceans team to develop a report that looks into participatory processes and governance mechanisms worldwide that successfully help fisheries achieve the Marine Stewardship Council Certificate. The MSC Certificate is the gold standard for sustainable seafood, and this type of label can open new markets for fisheries that can earn the label through better management practices. The report I’m working on aims to aid the WWF Peru team in their consultancy with the Peruvian government on the next steps toward sustainable fisheries and gaining the MSC label on their seafood exports. My job is to gather examples of governments worldwide that have successfully implemented the MSC standard into their fisheries, and the management processes they used to engage with stakeholders. The Peru team will then use these examples to work with the government to develop a more sustainable fishery that will benefit their country both socially and economically. The main goal of this report is to show the Peruvian government the benefits of investing in their fisheries and seeking out sustainable labels like the Marine Stewardship Council Certificate. 

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