Two new biology interns joined the team effort at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 6. Hanna Joergens and Libby Errickson plan to stay through June 2014 as part of the refuge's intern program supported by the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge.
Errickson hails from York, Penn., but most recently lived in Washington State, where she worked as a raptor counter for Hawkwatch International. Previous to that she worked on an urban bird breeding ecology study at Ohio State University and as a naturalist at New Jersey Audubon's Hawkwatch platform in Cape May, N.J. She holds a bachelor's degree in wildlife conservation and management from Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Penn.
Joergens graduated from Indiana University in Bloomington with a degree in outdoor recreation and resource management. She has gained field experience since then in positions at Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida, Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, and most recently the southern fisheries research division of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Her work has focused on species from catfish to sea turtles.
Libby Errickson and Hanna Joergens. PHOTO PROVIDED.
"The surveys we'll be completing this season can't start soon enough!" said Joergens. "Sanibel is a unique home to all kinds of wildlife and people that I am excited to get to know better over the next six months."
"So far I am loving island life," said Errickson. "I used to come here on vacations as a kid, and it is so cool to be able to return here and completely immerse myself in this unique environment."
Biology interns have the opportunity to select an area of concentration for a research project while at the refuge. Errickson has chosen butterflies and moths. The project will include a display for the free "Ding" Darling Visitor & Education Center and an interpretive sign for the Bailey Tract.
Joergens says she's so fascinated about all facets of refuge flora and fauna, she hasn't yet been able to narrow down her research topic.
"The intern program not only fulfills the wildlife society's mission to educate a new generation of wildlife stewards, but fills a government budget void by providing valuable manpower to assist the refuge's overworked staff," said DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller Vertesch.
To support DDWS and the refuge with a tax-deductible gift, visit dingdarlingsociety.org or contact Birgie Miller Vertesch at 292-0566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.