Protecting our Environment – by Madison Daughn

As I began the search for an internship I wasn’t sure what type of organization I was looking for. I considered law firms, the Texas legislature, local governmental agencies, and several advocacy groups. In the end I settled on Environment Texas.

When I began my internship I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had never worked in an office environment and was nervous about beginning a new job. As soon as I began my internship I realized I had no reason to be worried. My supervisor and coworkers immediately welcomed me and made me feel very comfortable. Asking questions, communicating, and collaborating were all encouraged.

Within my first week we settled on the primary projects I would be working on this semester. For the most part, I have been working on a variety of projects concerning state parks in Texas. The first goal of my internship was to begin to raise awareness for Proposition 5. This is a constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot this November. This proposition would ensure that 100% of taxes on sporting goods go to our state and local parks. This tax was originally intended to be used to sustain our outdoor spaces, but has historically been diverted to other areas by the legislature. If this amendment is passed then it will ensure that all of the money from this existing tax goes where it is supposed to. With this extra funding the state park system could begin to make repairs to existing facilities and could even potentially expand our state parks. To raise awareness for this issue we planned a series of press conferences throughout the state. 

When I was first given this assignment I didn’t think it would be too difficult. Planing a press conference? How challenging could that be? What I thought would be a simple project quickly expanded into a logistical nightmare with a million moving parts. We had to ensure the media was aware of and attending each of the seven press conferences, that each event had speakers, decide on specific locations in large and often challenging to navigate state parks, and extend invitations to legislators and other groups that would support Proposition 5. Coordinating all of these moving parts required a lot of clear and consistent communication. 

In the end, after a few close calls, we averted any major disasters and successfully pulled of a seven city and thirteen state park media tour. It was very satisfying to see the turn out and media attention we were able to achieve. Hopefully, when the election comes around Proposition 5 will pass!

Media coverage of the one of our press conferences!

So far my experience has helped me realize how important it is to work in a field you are passionate about and with people you enjoy spending time with. A welcoming and pleasant work environment can often make all the difference. Working at Environment Texas has been a valuable opportunity to explore a potential new career path, an important and relevant issue, and work with some great people! 


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