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Refuge welcomes new biology intern

By Staff | Feb 10, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Intern Haley Miller will assist lead J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge biologist Jeremy Conrad with research and wildlife surveys.

Biology intern Haley Miller joined the team effort at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in January and plans to stay until early August as part of the refuge’s internship program, which is supported by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge.

Originally from Haverhill, Massachusetts, she most recently worked as a research assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. In 2018, Miller graduated from Chapman University in California with a Bachelor of Science in environmental science and policy. Concurrently with her “Ding” internship, she is working on a master’s degree in forest resources at Clemson University in South Carolina.

“I love the enthusiasm I’ve seen from day one from refuge staff and volunteers,” Miller said. “Their acknowledgement of how special this place is and their dedication to continue to protect its habitat is inspiring.”

Miller looks forward to joining the refuge’s ongoing mangrove fertilization study and will begin working on her master’s thesis about understanding mangrove water use efficiency.

“My project’s main focus will be on mangrove physiology as it relates to growth within the fertilized study plots,” she said. “I’ve also enjoyed conducting wildlife surveys and the excitement of responding to calls to assess wildlife who potentially are in need of aid.”

The DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year, and the refuge supports the interns with free housing.

“Our interns bring youthful energy, enthusiasm and creativity to the refuge team,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said. “We are so grateful to the ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society for making our internship program possible. Our interns help keep the refuge running in this era of slim staffing budgets.”

For more information about internships, contact Westland at 239-472-1100 ext. 237. To learn about supporting the program, contact DDWS Executive Director Birgie Miller at 239-472-1100 ext. 4.