My time as Research Assistant at The Nature Conservancy, written by Andres Targa

When I first began my internship at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), I was eager to work firsthand at an office downtown as well as outside collecting field data; however, I was quick to learn that due to the pandemic this would not be the case at all. In fact, The Nature Conservancy took quick evasive counter measures once they saw the long-term effects that the pandemic would bring about, and because of it, they decided to close their office downtown early on. In other words, my time as intern for one of the biggest environmental organizations has been mostly reduced to working remotely. Even though the experience has been different than what I had expected, I still enjoy working for the benefit of global environmental conservation alongside professional researchers. 

On a day to day basis, I have been able to learn more about how plant ecologists are able to monitor, collect, and plug in data into TNC’s database regarding data entries for green spaces (within Texas) being monitored in this case by my boss, Charlotte Reemts. Most of the field data entry that I have learned how to organize into excel spreadsheets has not been collected by myself; however, I am supposed to help out at least once during a field day collection before my internship is over (that is, if time allows it). I am still surprised at how specifically organized TNC requires their data entries to be (since they need to be read and coded by a machine afterwards). Furthermore, I also learned how to update (as well as create) “preserve summaries” that are commonly used across The Nature Conservancy’s database in order to keep adequate and consistent organization within their conservation document tracking. 

I was able to find this amazing internship per recommendation of my primary advisor, Dr. Amy Concilio, who has known my boss Charlotte as a fellow plant ecologist for a while now. The Nature Conservancy has worked with many other fellow St. Edward’s students in the past and is always looking for more help each semester in case you are interested! I am not sure where to find any specific or general information regarding the application for a position within this organization; however, there are many other plant ecologists (like my boss) along with other professionals that are in charge of monitoring different aspects of an ecosystem, and that should not be hard to contact at all in case their research sparks your interest even more. Applications are usually accepted at the start of each semester and are rather informal, they are more like an interview if you will. Something important to note and keep in mind is that this job internship requires a lot of personal time management. In other words, I did not have a set time frame for me to work on, but rather created my own schedule accordingly as the semester went by.  If you have any questions or would like to look more into applying for a position at The Nature Conservancy, I would definitely check out their website for more information.


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