Gab is a junior studying Natural Resource Conservation and Animal Science at UMass Amherst. They first heard about Eagle Eye from a peer advisor at UMass, Gabby Gracia, who was an Eagle Eye intern in 2019. Gab is part of the STEM Ambassadors Program at UMass, a mentorship program for historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields.
I discovered Eagle Eye fairly coincidentally, by looking through the personal statements of the peer advisors, one of whom had been an intern with Eagle Eye in 2019. Through browsing the Eagle Eye website, I learned about the mission to connect all youth with nature and conserve MountainStar Forest, a mission that deeply resonated with me and aligns with my career goals of working in wildlife conservation. When I learned of the summer internship program, I was eager to be a part of Eagle Eye’s mission, and I am immensely grateful to have been given that opportunity.
Eagle Eye’s site is on an incredibly beautiful natural landscape, whose isolation encourages a depth of self-reflection that is seldom possible elsewhere. Being immersed in the outdoors everyday, sleeping in tents, stewarding the trails, and eating vegetables from the garden fosters a necessary and mutually beneficial connection with the land that I will take with me always. Through working on building projects with [Eagle Eye Site Manager] Scott, I learned how to use new tools and drive a tractor. On our group walks along the trails, the Eagle Eye interns and staff shared plant and mushroom ID knowledge that we were then able to pass on to the youth with whom we worked on the Learn About Forests programs.
I think the opportunity to intern at Eagle Eye would benefit anyone looking to gain confidence in the outdoors, great personal and professional connections, and experience in carpentry, youth work, and communal living. It is an experience I won’t forget.