Klamath Bird Observatory has enjoyed and benefited from the efforts of a long string of volunteer student interns since our very beginnings in 1996. Over 170 individuals, representing 18 different countries, have participated as interns in various KBO projects. Very often, our interns are early in their careers, many just recently completing their undergraduate studies. They come to KBO for practical professional experience in preparation for graduate studies or for taking on leadership roles on various projects, mostly involving Conservation Biology.
A maxim we impart to interns from the outset is this: if they succeed, KBO succeeds. Thus, we are deeply invested in their achievements following their time with KBO. One way we measure our interns’ success is to watch as they seek higher academic degrees. More than 35 former Klamath Bird Observatory interns have earned or are now pursuing advanced degrees in the natural sciences. Specifically, 22 have earned Master of Science degrees, four hold doctorates, and nine are currently enrolled in graduate programs.
Another exciting way we measure success is to follow the accomplishments of our international interns, many of whom have gone on to make significant contributions to bird conservation outside of the United States. To date, we have hosted student interns from Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Holland, Hungary, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Perú, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and United Kingdom. Of the 36 international interns we have hosted, 18 are active banding trainers internationally and most are working with increased responsibility and impact for conservation organizations. Some have even established their own bird monitoring and research programs in their home countries.
We endeavor to impart a positive learning experience for every intern, and for their part, our interns oblige us through their considerable and wonderful contributions that help us advance bird and habitat conservation. As we follow the developing careers of these dynamic scientists and educators, their success is truly our success as well.
This article appears in KBO’s Summer 2013 Newsletter.