Get to Know: Our Environmental Education Interns

Each year the Environmental Education staff grows for the summer with the addition of two seasonal interns. These amazing students work side by side with our naturalists presenting public programming, designing curriculum, supervising summer camps, & so much more. They are a terrific addition to our team & we look forward to working with them every year.

Get to know this season's interns & make sure you say hi the next time you spot them at any Pottawattamie Conservation park!

Hi everyone! My name is Malena Brotherson & I am excited to be at Hitchcock Nature Center this summer as a Naturalist Intern, I am from the small town of Panama, Nebraska which is south of Lincoln. I attended the University of Nebraska at Omaha & will graduate December, 202 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with minors in Environmental Science & Chemistry.

It's no surprise that I gravitated towards a career in the outdoors when I got to college because I grew up playing in the dirt around my house & on family farms. There were always animals around that I loved to interact with & observe. My summers consisted of camping, going to the lake, & hiking at National Parks across the western United States. During one summer I got to camp for sixteen days & see some of the most amazing & wild parts of the western United States! That experience solidified my love for nature. I remember watching the steam rise from the hot springs & geysers at Yellowstone National Park, wondering how organisms could survive in the heat. I felt the 37 degree chill of a Yosmeite morning during the hottest summer months because I was at a high elevation. I also got to gape in awe at the Giant Sequoia trees at Sequoia National Park. Their massive width & height was breathtaking & I wondered how they could grow to such a stature.

I loved having nature at my fingertips as I grew up. It gave me the opportunity to learn and appreciate the complicated interactions happening all around us. This summer, I want to give other children the chance to experience the awe and wonder of the natural environment that I was able to be immersed in as a child.

Hello! My name is Kristen. I am a summer Environmental Education Intern here at Hitchcock Nature Center with Pottawattamie Conservation. I am a student at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, where I am studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Life Sciences. I am passionate about the environment and reducing humanity’s impact on the planet. When I am not in class I am likely exploring the outdoors, reading, traveling, or spending time with my family. 

I entered my freshman year of college as a Civil Engineering major, but that was quick to change. I changed my major after learning about plastic pollution and habitat degradation. The moment that reassured my decision to change my major was during a class trip to Glacier Creek Prairie. Glacier Creek is a restored prairie that was once agricultural land. Given the opportunity to learn about the different plant and animal species that live in that ecosystem gave me a sense of purpose and belonging. I felt that educating others and continuing to learn about nature and conservation is my future. 

Education has always been a priority for me. Gaining knowledge and having the ability to convey that knowledge to individuals and future generations is essential for all things, but this is especially true for conservation and environmentalism. I am excited to spend the summer here at Hitchcock Nature Center, teaching youth and the public in camps and through online videos and conferences, while I simultaneously learn about the plants and animals found in the Loess Hills.

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Pottawattamie Conservation Precautions During COVID-19 (6/26/2020)
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This Month in Nature: June (6/17/2020)
by Malena Brotherson, Environmental Education Intern

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