Jenna Shea is a recent graduate of UMass Amherst who double majored in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Conservation. Jenna came to Eagle Eye wanting to explore both community engagement and field work to get a better idea of her path after college. While she was at Eagle Eye, she accepted a position with TerraCorps at Wareham Land Trust as their Community Engagement and Land Stewardship Coordinator. Congratulations, Jenna!
Below is her reflection on the 2020 summer internship.
I came to Eagle Eye with worry, doubt, and uncertainty clouding my thoughts about life post-graduation, but within the first few days of being here, those thoughts quieted and were replaced with thoughts about the beauty of the site and the people that surrounded me.
Through trail stewardship, I gained skills in maintaining the land and learned tips on how to ID trees, listen for the waterfall-like call of the wood thrush, and spot little mushrooms popping up from the leaf litter (fungi eye!). In listening and watching, I learned that everyone belongs in nature and has a role, from the mosquitoes that provide a food source for bats, to the fungi that overtake trees and help them return to the earth through decomposition.
Even humans have their place and purpose in nature. Though many of us are taught to believe that this world would be better off without us, we are just as much a part of it as any other being, a part of the cycles, the coming and going, the giving and taking. We are taught that all we do is take and that we add nothing of value, but we give back in our gratitude and our stewardship of the land.
Through the work we did, I learned that I have the capability to wield a nail gun and build a deck. I discovered that I have the knowledge to design and lead a lesson and to be an effective steward of the land. I will carry this heightened sense of confidence in my abilities into whatever I do next.
Through morning meditations and silent moments waiting for the rain to pass, I learned the virtue of being present, of knowing that there are deadlines to meet and emails to send, but allowing those thoughts to pass to make room for the dancing light, the cool refreshing water, and the birdsong.
Eagle Eye provided a supportive and nurturing environment through which to grow and find clarity, and I will use the lessons I have learned here to work to make natural spaces more inclusive and to connect communities to the natural world that surrounds them.