AWC offers opportunities for promising graduate students to gain valuable conservation field experience via our Internship Program. Previous intern, Samantha Mulvena, shares her experiences below.
When did you start your internship? How are you finding it?
I started my internship in February of this year up at Scotia Wildlife Sanctuary, NSW and then moved down to Mallee Cliffs National Park, NSW for the final months. Living on sanctuary at Scotia was an amazing experience and being a part of translocation projects at Mallee Cliffs National Park has been a lot of fun.
What are your long-term goals in the science field?
After my internship I want to keep working in the ecology and conservation field, and continue applying and developing the skills I’ve gained throughout my internship. I’d love to get into a role that keeps me in the field and allows me to continue gaining more on-ground experience. At some point I’d also like to undertake a PhD hopefully combining my interest in ecology and genetics.
How did you hear about AWC’s science program?
I first found out about the program when I began volunteering with AWC up at North Head Sanctuary back in 2017.
What enticed you to apply?
I applied as a result of my volunteer work at North Head and my honours work. I volunteered on a few projects involving Bush Rats, Bandicoots and Brown Antechinus up at North Head Sanctuary and really enjoyed every second of it. During my honours I worked briefly with a previous intern who highly recommended the program, which also helped attract me to the internship.
What were some of your expectations going in?
I didn’t really have any expectations going in, I hadn’t been this far west in NSW before and was very excited to be working in a new environment.
Have any elements of the program surprised you?
I was surprised by how much I have been able to travel around as a result of the program. I was involved in a number of trips to SA to collect Greater Stick-nest Rats to be released on park, to WA to harvest Red-tailed Phascogales for breeding programs and VIC to harvest Mitchell’s Hopping Mice for breeding programs. The internship has given me the opportunity to see a huge part of Australia that I hadn’t seen before.
Have you experienced any unique or key takeaway moments during the internship?
My favourite moment throughout the internship was probably being a part of the harvest team of Red-tailed Phascogales in WA. Knowing that the individuals we had captured were going to be used to secure populations of red-tailed phascogales into the future was very special.
Would you recommend the internship to others interested in science-led conservation and why?
I’d definitely recommend the program to anyone interested in a career in wildlife conservation. The internship has given me so many unique opportunities and experiences including various translocation projects, remote living and seeing my first Numbat in the wild! It also allowed me to develop my fauna handling and identification skills, and introduced me to new monitoring and trapping methods.