Jacob Ney

Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center - Naturalist, Farmhand, Animal Care Intern

How did you hear about your internship?

Through word of mouth and personal experience. I went there myself in seventh grade and loved it, then talked with Skylar Peyton (‘18) about her internship experience and got involved that way. 

How did you obtain this internship?

I was accepted to the Jackson Fellowship and so would do an internship through that program. I sent Wolf Ridge a resume and cover letter explaining the unique position and experience I wanted for an internship. They looked at where help was most needed, interviewed me, and I was accepted to all three positions with varying time spent in each.

Please describe the responsibilities of your internship

Naturalist: teach elementary and middle school children who are there for summer camp. Taught them using Wolf Ridge lesson plans for birds, archery, GPS, adventure ropes, etc.

Farmhand: typical farm chores such as preparing beds, planting, watering, harvesting, processing, etc. mostly vegetable based farm, but pigs are used now to turn fields as well. The farm is new but growing.

Animal caretaker: assist with the daily care of educational animals including feeding, enclosure cleaning, and enrichment activities (keep their mind healthy and entertained). Animals included four raptors, a porcupine, bats, chicken, raven, snake, salamander, frogs, fish.

What were the highlights from your internship?

I really enjoyed getting experience in all three sectors, but handling raptors and taking them on walks outside as a form of enrichment was especially fun.

How did your internship connect (or not connect) to your coursework?

Much of what I learned in 150 and 175 were similar things to what I was teaching the children as a naturalist. Because college courses are obviously more in depth, I felt prepared for handling or learning the lesson plans with similar material. 

How did your internship connect (or not connect) to your planned career?

It helped me realize what aspects from each position I liked when I could balance the pros and cons from all three. I realized what I’m not interested and found paths to investigate in the future.

In what ways has Jackson Fellows helped you develop professionally?

 The professional development training helped me learn how to present myself and my interests, and interact and network properly within an organization. I was also able to bond with my cohort and help support others in their own development, as they have me. As an environmental studies major, it was nice to learn how to act professional even when I was outdoors in the rain.