Max Mercado – Wildlife Management Internship
My name is Max Mercado and I am a senior at Garden Spot High School. This final school year of mine I interned at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Kleinfeltersville, PA. Although the experience was short-lived, I was able to be a part of different parts of not only managing habitats and wildlife but also taking care of work around the Visitor’s Center. These two main categories of work have most definitely prepared me for a future in wildlife work in general, whether it be out in the field or in an organized facility.
In the field, I was exposed to the fun and dirty work. One of the tasks I had to do was help in duck banding, one of the fun parts of the internship. The ducks were trapped in large cages, baited by corn. Our job was to take them and band them with metal rings and write down the data. This was exciting because it was hands-on contact with the wild animals, which I enjoy. There was, however, a task that had to be done, regardless of how much I wanted to do it: cleaning kestrel boxes. This required climbing a rather flimsy ladder up a tall pole to clean out the waste and old wood shavings from the boxes and replace it with new shavings. On certain occasions, the boxes needed to be replaced, so I was tasked with climbing up and helping take down one box and putting up another, which got rather tricky given the fact that I was over 15 feet in the air.
I did not spend much time at the Visitor’s Center, but did work there, nonetheless. One task I was given was to do data entry into the computer of all the ducks that were banded during my time there. It was repetitive and time-consuming, but I enjoyed doing it. It gave me something to do when the day was slow. I also took a whole day to fold pamphlets with the help of a pamphlet folding machine and also took a week to build a shed in the wind, which was frustrating at first but became a fun activity for the interns to work on together, so not only did I learn how to build a shed, I also got to grow closer with my fellow interns.
This internship was a positive experience that allowed me to grow as a person and as a functioning member of society. I learned skills that were essential for the career field of my choice, I met new people that I was beginning to grow closer to, and I began to get out of my comfort zone and become comfortable with that as well.