As spring ended and summer began to show I became more nervous, and excited, about my new potential experiences as a Kellogg Biological Station intern at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. I was grateful to have this internship and create positive experiences for visitors of all ages, but I was also fearful of the unexpected. Yet, as I drove towards KBS for the first time I remember thinking “This is a new beginning” and knew that this experience would make a large impact on myself.
Where the new beginning starts
Once I arrived and finished my quarantine I was finally able to begin working. Although I was still buzzing with nerves I was ready to dive into the work. I was tasked with a list of projects I would need to complete by the end of summer, but I also had to help run the store. Most days that I was working I would begin my day by opening the store; however, occasionally I began the day with my mentor, Lisa Duke, when we would go birding before the sanctuary had opened. Once the store was open I could start and finish up projects while also greet the incoming guests and answer the questions they had regarding birds and our facility.
When I was not doing that, I was doing projects such as creating self-guided educational activities like story walks which allowed children to get out on the trail, read a story, and learn. While I was at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary our story walk themes involved frogs, butterflies, and bats! This means that during the butterfly theme I was able to learn more about monarch butterflies myself. I got to help find caterpillars on milkweed, raise, and release them as butterflies as well.
During the month of July the bird sanctuary was a part of Barry County’s “No Family Left Indoors 2021”. For this I worked with Misty Klotz and we placed images of different bird species that might be found inside of the sanctuary along the trail in the locations they might be seen. I also created signage for this event and made social media posts.
Other projects included renovating the bee condo, digitizing the memorial directory, creating an exploration station, photographing tadpoles and frogs, and helping with a waterfowl weigh-in and health check.
Even with great things there are still challenges. Balancing everything would be the greatest challenge throughout the entirety of my internship. Since volunteers and staff were limited for the majority of my time at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary I, along with others who worked there, was forced to juggle many tasks. While trying to complete my projects I also had to work in the store. This meant that I had to use my time wisely, everything had to be scheduled around down times or when the store could be covered by someone else. Luckily for me my challenges were usually easily fixed with the help of my amazing mentor and co-workers.
Being able to intern in an amazing atmosphere with people who are wonderful to work with while also getting the ability to connect with people who have similar interests is what made this internship one of the best beginnings and saddest ends.
Cheyenne Cope is the 2021 Kellogg Bird Sanctuary Visitor Experience Intern. She studies Environmental Biology/Zoology at Michigan State University.