Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Final reflections on a chilly...but awesome summer!

As the summer draws to a close, I wanted to wait until I returned to the United States to post my final report of my internship with the New Zealand Department of Conservation. I spent the last few days working on my final presentation of the survey results on what makes a DOC site successful.
I want to take this opportunity to personally thank all the DOC employees I worked with and for the hospitality they extended to me during my internship. DOC employees like Felicity Lawrence, General Manager for People & Organisation Development, my immediate boss Gavin and Sue, who took me under her wing, all contributed to my enjoyable and successful internship. Provided below is a photograph of my farewell party at DOC headquarters in Wellington, New Zealand.
The highlights of my internship included being responsible for creating a survey that prioritized recreation sites for future management decisions involving public use, working at a DOC site on Matiu- Somes Island and visiting Milford Sound on the South Island. While visiting the South Island I was fortunate enough to see several species of flightless birds that are endangered. I also experienced the largest earthquake in many decades, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale. The epi-center of the earthquake was located thirty miles to the south of Te Anau.
My last week DOC had me visit the zoo in Wellington. One of the most interesting animals I observed was a Red Panda that was eating apples. Provided below is a photograph of the Red Panda.
I also had my final presentation of my survey findings and overall I think it went really well. I was happy to not only get positive feedback but also constructive feedback such as suggestions of how I could have gotten certain information easier and more in depth with other pieces as well.
On my last day my co-workers had a farewell party for me. This came as a surprise and it was such a nice gesture. Although the trip overall had its bumpy parts the good experiences by far outweighed the bad and I learned so much, not only about my field of study but about myself as a person. I will never forget this journey.

Lastly I want to thank Shaun Driscoll, Brad Dannaefred, Greg O’Connor and my flat mates Mike and Annita for their help in making my internship become a reality and helping me on a daily basis. I hope to return to New Zealand in the future. It is truly a beautiful country.

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