There’s a tree that apparantly lives on a deck in the middle of the office building behind ours. More than leaning out for optimal sunlight, I can’t help but feel like it’s reaching out to be happily planted on the ground, in the earth, with the other trees behind our building.
In the past 4 weeks, I have deepened my knowledge about the technical aspects of aquaculture via the projects I’ve worked on. I created short documents for the Steering Committees of the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue (SAD) and the Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue (FTAD), including “Relevancy of using Daphnia as an aquatic surrogate toxicity species,” “Species Threatened by Freshwater Aquaculture, by Region” using IUCN Red List data, a global list of banned chemicals, and persistence data on known toxins. On a grander scale, I collated and summarized 100s of pages of public comments for both SAD and FTAD, so that the Steering Committees will have an organized overview of the opinions of groups and individuals as they meet to discuss the final drafts for the aquaculture certification standards for salmon and freshwater trout.
Wow. Here I am. This childhood dream of mine, come true: working at the World Wildlife Fund. Yes, it’s as an intern, and true, WWF is not paying me…but I am at WWF US headquarters, working on important documents and contributing to conservation in a measurable and meaningful way. Thirty-one years is a long time to wait for that dream to come true, and I have worked really hard to get here! Now that I’m here, I am trying my best to stay focused and produce high quality work as fast as possible, to help my team make all their deadlines preparedly. I feel welcome here with my own cubicle with a name tag. Sometimes, it’s the little things.
I am impressed with how enormous the WWF building is (7 stories with 4 dedicated to WWF work), and how many people work here (I estimate between 400-1000 individuals). It’s hard to tell, exactly, because so many people work from home or travel so often for work. Everyone is generous and friendly, and so far most people make a point of introducing themselves to the new people they don’t recognize (me and the other interns). I spent a full day in orientation when I first arrived: some history of WWF, discussion of WWF ethos and projects, and nuts-and-bolts topics.
There’s a Trader Joe’s a block away, and a field out back where people play ultimate frisbee and soccer most days at lunchtime (phew, a bit too hot for me this week, though I did make it for one game). Mostly, I just work hard. More on what that entails to come.
Since I started school at MIIS, I have been focusing most of my projects and papers on aquaculture. I have been working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch this semester,
and it’s all paid off because now I get to head to Washington D.C. for the summer, working for the aquaculture program at WWF. Or, as I like to say, the Aquaculture Team! (Because doesn’t that sound like a super hero group?).