Hope Knoll reflects on her internship experience

Hope KnollWritten by Lindsay Hope Knoll 

I am a retired Air Force veteran from Massachusetts, with 20 years of experience in intelligence analysis. I gained strong work ethics, leadership, and critical thinking skills to transition into a new career. For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about nature, so I earned a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science with concentration in fish and wildlife management.  

During my studies, I developed further interest in species conservation, wildlife biology and ecology. I took advantage of the military’s Skillbridge program for transitioning service members and completed a 5-month internship with the Turtle Survival Alliance as a turtle (chelonian) keeper. I learned species conservation and land management need to work together in order to be successful, therefore I decided to take another internship focused on the land aspect which brought me to the Forest Steward’s Guild program.  

At the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge, I gained insight on the intricacies of pine forest management and running a refuge. Specifically, focusing on a prescription to establish ideal bobwhite quail habitat. It is a rigorous job that requires great self-discipline because having to reduce the forest stands to as low as 40 basal area requires one to select beautiful trees to cut. Though it pained me to do this, it is all a part of species survival. Learning what a healthy forest looks like and the work behind achieving that was my key takeaway from this experience.  

Having this experience has pointed me further in the direction of working in conservation. I’d love to take my future into researching wildlife management practices and finding ways to ensure species survival so future generations can enjoy even richer wildlife diversity than we have today. For now, I’ll continue to volunteer at CSNWR and keep on learning and appreciating the ways of wildlife, their habitats, and public activities in the places where they are. Thank you for everything! 

Hope in forest stand

Editor’s note: The Forest Stewards Guild has partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the last several years to provide students with hands-on experiences to learn how forestry and wildlife management work together on public lands. These 12-week positions are hired by the Guild and supervised and based at the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in McBee, South Carolina.  

Cassidy McCarty and Hope Knoll were selected from a strong pool of applicants for these positions and both interns did a wonderful job. We are featuring articles written by each of them. Check back next month for Hopes article. We wish them both all the best as they complete their education and enter the work force.  

We will be offering this 12-week summer internship again in 2023. Be on the lookout for a posting next spring at http://foreststewardsguild.org. Pease also check this page for other opportunities with the Guild and our terrific partners. If you would like to help recruit well-deserving and potentially interested students, or if you would like to apply yourself and have questions, please contact Shawn Swartz at shawn@forestguild.org or 828-216-6470.