A FUN Summer, Where Interns (dino)SAUR!

August 1, 2011 at 2:34 pm 1 comment

I think the best way to begin talking about my internship experience is to quote my advisor, Kristy Richardson, as she once put it: “Here at Fernbank, all the employees wear a lot of hats.” I’ve been lucky enough to have had an extraordinary opportunity this summer working within the education department as the FUN volunteer program intern.

While when I first started I thought I would be working with mostly the FUN volunteers, but I quickly learned that as an intern at Fernbank I too wear many different hats. I could show up to work tomorrow  and do so much as train a FUN volunteer in the morning, update volunteer hours and present award ribbons, figure out the difference between a Whelk shell and a Conch shell, go on a nature walk and learn how to tell apart Umbrella, Sweetbayand Southern Magnolia trees, try to keep my cool while holding and feeding pythons that love to stare me down, or watch cardboard box superheroes dance to DJ Willy Wow while making hundreds of stick super heroes with googly eyes.

Did I know what I was interviewing for with this internship? Most definitely not! My summer has been quite a ride and I have loved every minute of it. It has been really exciting to be behind the scenes of a respectable museum of natural history like Fernbank and see how much work and dedication from the employees it takes to make memorable experiences for guests. The summer has seemed to fly by and the amount of material I have learned has been a dream come true.

My partner in crime Annaliese, who is also a FUN intern this summer, and I wear the FUN intern hat most of the time. The FUN volunteer program consists of 60 FUN volunteer ranging from middle school kids to seniors in high school. Each volunteer applies for a spot in the program by filling out an application that includes an essay section, teacher recommendations and an interview. In what has become a very competitive program, the applicants selected are then trained to volunteer with a number of different functions at the Museum. They are trained for working the fossil, archaeology and ocean shells science carts, assisting educators with animal encounters, helping kids learn more in Weekend Wonders and during other events. The FUN volunteers learn to interact with guests of all ages, as well as teach guests about the various scientific subjects found at Fernbank.

It has been a lot of fun training very shy and quiet FUN volunteers on their first day and seeing each FUN volunteer grow into an outgoing, confident and knowledgeable young adult. The FUN program does an exceptional job in teaching responsibility and confidence. I’ve had a great time working and building relationships with the volunteers and I would be lying if I said I haven’t learned something from them.

The internship has allowed me to learn a lot about how a big organization actually functions to teach natural history to its guests. The internship has opened me up to all the different methods Fernbank uses to teach about natural history from the information presented in exhibits, to the employees of Fernbank that work so hard to make every Museum guest walk away with a great experience, and learned a more about natural history. I could not have asked for a better summer internship.

—Reid Popple, FUN Summer Intern

{Editor’s note: Visit us online to learn more about Fernbank’s internship program.}

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She’s Crafty Staring at the Floors

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Staring at the Floors « Museum Musings  |  August 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    […] education interns at the Museum, Reid and I have many jobs.  Our main job is to train the FUN (Fernbank Ultimate Naturalist) volunteers […]

    Reply

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About

At Fernbank Museum, there’s much more than dinosaurs and giant-screen films. Even with our website, e-newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter updates, there’s still a lot we’d like to share with you. This blog is an opportunity for the people that keep Fernbank running and constantly expanding, to share stories from their point of view. We hope you’ll enjoy these first-hand, behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes into keeping a world-class natural history museum running. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on these stories, to hear your personal experiences and hear any suggestions for topics. Happy reading!

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