Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Intern Spotlight: Fernando Diaz

          Tucson Audubon has been a proud supporter of youth in conservation since the very beginning of our organization. Be it classes, field trips, internships or other special events!
         Every once in a while we like to put a little spotlight on our hardworking interns and volunteers to recognize their hard work and encourage others to volunteer in conservation. Today’s spotlight is on Fernando Diaz, a sophomore at University of Arizona pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. 

Fernando is being recognized today for his "can-do" spirit, hard work and fast learning! 
Great job!

        He started as an intern at Tucson Audubon Society after asking his adviser for help finding ornithology-related experience. What better place than Tucson Audubon? By contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Luke Safford, Fernando was set up with opportunities that our multifaceted organization offers: bird surveys, habitat restoration, nestbox installation/monitoring, and data entry.

When asked why ornithology interests him, Fernando said:
I’ve always been fascinated with biology, ever since I was a kid who took interest in dinosaurs. When I learned that birds are the only living clade of dinosaurs (and funnily enough, after reading/watching Jurassic Park’s constant references to birds) I couldn’t help but get interested in them. They became my favorite groups of animals, as birds are just so diverse and diverged, that I can spend countless hours finding out about new species I never heard of or even believe could exist (such as the birds of paradise.)
After taking a few classes related with my major, I realize that I do feel I have what it takes to be a biologist, and Professor Robichaux (who taught my ECOL 182 class) really did inspire that passion I had to be a biologist. I learned in his class that one of the world’s leading ornithologists, Ed Scholes, is conducting extraordinary research on the birds of paradise and took the exact same class I did with the exact same professor (Dr. Rob), and it was at that moment I realized “Maybe I could become a great ornithologist!” To be straightforward, Dr. Rob’s lectures and motivational speeches for us really did inspire me to pursue my interests in biology (ornithology specifically, of course) and I became determined to do something about it over the summer. So far, I feel I’m on the right path and hope to become a great ornithologist.”

So far this summer Fernando has put up Elf Owl nestboxes, gone on Elegant Trogon surveys, and done multiple habitat restoration projects in Patagonia, Arizona. Something new on a weekly basis!

Here we see TAS restoration crew and Fernando (first from the right) working on building a weir to prevent erosion in Corral Canyon of Patagonia Mountains. Tucson Audubon is unique in the fact that there is a restoration department in addition to conservation. They go hand in hand!

Some of the benefits of interning at Tucson Audubon Society include, but are not limited to:
  •        College credit
  •        Resume-worthy experience
  •        In-field knowledge and skill acquisition
  •        Networking with professionals in your field
  •        Discovering the hidden nature gems of Southeast Arizona
  •        Volunteer hours that translate into discounts in our Nature Shop

Tucson Audubon Society offers opportunities to get involved with outreach, media, habitat restoration, bird conservation, and other elements of a non-profit conservation organization. 

If you know someone who may be interested in an internship, please refer them to Luke Safford at lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org