Interpreting the Environment, Communicating Nature, and Encouraging Stewardship

Caitlin Verdu ('14) and the Blue Goose, the mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge

Caitlin Verdu (’14) and the Blue Goose, the mascot of the National Wildlife Refuge

Since graduating last year, Caitlin Verdu (’14) has found herself actively combining her love for nature, her outreach engagement, her linguistic skills in Spanish, and her intercultural communication skills.  A double major in Environmental Science & Policy and Hispanic Studies, Caitlin spent the summer of 2014 interning with the Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) at the Manassas National Battlefield and the Conway Robinson State Forest, where she designed interpretive materials and assisted on land management projects.  Caitlin then moved to Ohio, where she currently works as a Visitor Services Intern with the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.  She regularly leads guided hikes and participates in their urban outreach efforts to instill in urban youth a sense of stewardship regarding nature and the environment.  She recently published an article on her work, “What’s the Buzz at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge? Creating Pollinator Habitat Through Urban Outreach,” in the February 2015 issue of the  Midwest regional newsletter of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

During her undergraduate studies, Caitlin had already had the opportunity to combine her interests in ENSP and Hispanic Studies.  Her study abroad experience in Central America (Nicaragua and Costa Rica) with the Center for Ecological Living and Learning allowed her to work on community sustainability projects (organic farming, solar energy, etc.) while testing her linguistic and intercultural communication skills, as she had to interpret from Spanish to English in various formal and informal settings.  At W&M, Caitlin worked as an EcoAmbassador, and as a research assistant for several projects.

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