Even though this is my first blog post, I’ve been at my environmental consulting internship for about 8 weeks now. The first few weeks were spent learning field research techniques and general plant identification, and I’m now working on a research project of my own.
I’ve always wanted to do field research, but going into it I was unsure if I could handle being outside in the heat for more than 30 hours every week. I love the outdoors, but I knew this would be a completely difference experience from the trail hiking I’m used to. But now, looking back, I’m so happy that I took this opportunity. It has made my summer enjoyable and meaningful in ways I never could have imagined. After the first few weeks, I fell in love – there’s something special about being in the woods in the early morning before most people are out and about. I’m currently researching the effects of deer browse on various plants throughout natural areas in Ann Arbor, and, to me, the work I’m doing feels useful and meaningful. I’ve never spent so much time outside in my life and I’m starting to develop a love of nature that I never knew was inside myself. For the first time I’m genuinely interested in and enjoying my research. I’ve learned so much about forest ecology, field research techniques, deer behavior, and plant identification and biology. This newfound love of nature is helping me figure out what I might want to do in the future – I even changed some of my fall classes to align with my new interests. In the past I never could have imagined myself doing field research – I barely even knew what it was. I chose to take this internship over others because it felt like something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m so happy I took this summer opportunity.