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My Experience as a Land Stewardship Intern

May 01, 2024

Robyn Graygor

Major: Journalism and Environmental Studies

Graduation date: 2025

As I approach my senior year, the urge to make a permanent positive change on campus intensifies. It felt natural to participate in the sustainability team since I have always felt responsible for ecosystems which cannot speak for themselves (at least not in a way many of us can understand). The land stewardship internship immediately stood out to me because I have always enjoyed field work and interacting directly with the natural environments around me. After graduating I hope to get a job which is mainly outside such as a native plant restoration assistant, a park naturalist, park ranger, or a conservation director for a land trust, so this internship was perfectly aligned with my goals. I was excited to begin designing projects which would encourage students to get outside and connect with the beautiful wilderness that lies just beyond our developed campus.

I have mainly focused on creating a map of forested trails on campus, marking those trails, and designing educational waystations to adorn the trailways. This semester we expect to fully mark the Alumni loop trail with blue markers, giving it the official name of “blue trail.” Paper and online copies of the main trails should also be finalized by the end of the semester. The sustainability team is very collaborative as well which allows movement beyond the specialized internships; I have been able to team up with the zero waste interns by attending plastics webinars and sitting in on meetings to discuss reducing single waste plastics on campus. The Green Fee Committee is another outlet for sustainability interns to meet collectively and truly work as a team towards achieving sustainability goals.

I feel as though I am more in-the-loop about sustainable decision-making after joining the land stewardship internship. Having easy access to the SAOC meetings, Green Fee Committee meetings, and sustainability staff members/ professors has helped me feel like my concerns are being heard and actively dealt with. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that students from all majors with varying environmental experiences would work alongside me as we tried to transform Purchase into a more sustainable space. My time working as a land stewardship intern has shown me just how many students care about sustainable changes on campus, and how much potential the student body has for enacting positive change.