Refuge welcomes Suzanne M. Dubuc education intern
Following the hiring of bilingual education intern Alfredo Carbajal earlier this month, Taína A. Milán recently joined the team at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel thanks to funding through the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. She too will fill the role of bilingual interpreter and translator for the refuge’s forthcoming Wildlife on Wheels mobile classroom and other educational refuge programs.
Born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, Milán graduated from Interamerican University, San Germán Campus, in May with a major in biology. Prior to traveling to Sanibel, she worked as a summer Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) supervisor at the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico.
“Taína’s first language is Spanish, so she will be such a valuable resource in helping us fulfill our mission to reach the local Latin community,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said. “Our first priority with WoW outreach is to travel to underserved schools and other venues where kids and adults don’t have the opportunity to visit the refuge.”
“I’m looking forward to working directly with the people and helping them know about the different resources the refuge has to offer and also to increase their awareness of the importance of our environment so they will protect it for the future of our society and our planet,” Milán said.
During her initial quarantine period, the intern got to know the island’s flora and fauna by hiking, biking and photographing the environment.
DDWS provides living stipends and other benefits for about a dozen interns each year. The refuge supports interns with free housing. Milán’s internship was made possible by the 2021 Suzanne M. Dubuc Education Intern Fund, established in the name of a lifelong educator remembered for her creativity in the classroom and later in a retail operation selling educational supplies for teachers.
“Dubuc passed away in 2016, but her commitment to education and the value she placed upon inspiring students continues through this internship in her memory,” Westland said.
“It is an honor to hold an internship named in memory of someone who had such a passion for education and making a difference,” Milán said.
For more information about the refuge’s internship programs and supporting them, contact DDWS Associate Director Lynnae Messina at 239-472-1100 ext. 233. DDWS is accepting donations for future named intern funds at $12,500 a year, which is the cost for supporting one intern with living stipends, travel, tolls, Sanibel Recreation Center membership and other expenses.