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Refuge welcomes new visitor services intern

By Staff | Jul 2, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Katy Hosokawa will assist the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with visitor services through April and its 75th anniversary activities this year.

Katy Hosokawa recently joined the team at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge as a visitor services intern. Once she completes her two-week distancing quarantine, she will work full-time with Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland.

“I’m kind of easing in, checking out the trails on my own, and reading up on all things ‘Ding,'” Hosokawa, who comes to the refuge following a naturalist position at the Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge in Texas, said.

A native Texan from Azle, she graduated in 2015 from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with a bachelor’s degree in geography. Hosokawa went on to earn a master’s from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colorado, where she studied environmental geoscience.

“I love coastal ecology and birds, so Sanibel and the refuge are a perfect fit,” she said.

Hosokawa also held a position as a naturalist on Little St. Simons Island in Georgia from 2018-19.

The “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The refuge supports interns with free housing.

“We welcome our new interns’ energy and enthusiasm,” Westland said. “We thank our friends group for making their internships possible. With our shrinking staff, due to federal budget cuts, this sort of partnership is crucial to keep the refuge running.”

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.