by Tacy Lambiase, BTC Student
I knew last semester that I wanted a spring internship that would teach me valuable communication skills. Since I want to pursue a career incommunications with some kind of emphasis on sustainability or environmental education after graduation, I looked for openings at organizations related to environmental activism and conservation. After finding out about American Forests, a conservation nonprofit in Washington, D.C., and securing an internship working with their communications department, I am pleased to say that I have certainly learned valuable skills over the past few months that I can use in my post-graduation life.
American Forests, originally named American Forestry Association, was founded in 1875 and remains the oldest conservation nonprofit in the United States. Since 1990, American Forests has helped to plant over 44 million trees around the world while addressing environmental issues related to forests and trees. These issues include environmental threats such as deforestation, disease, invasive species, natural disasters, climate change, urbanization, and pollution. American Forests works to mitigate the negative effects of these issues, and advocates for the protection and conservation of forests and other wild ecosystems.
As the communications and marketing intern for American Forests, I help to promote dozens of conservation projects and tree planting events through the organization’s blog, Loose Leaf, and on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Every week, I write blog posts on topics related to trees and forest ecosystems, such as the history of the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., and how trees help to keep to keep pollution out of the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, I have learned so much about communication strategy and how nonprofits can connect with supporters through social media channels. For example, I helped to organize and plan American Forests’ first annual Big Tree Madness competition on Facebook. This interactive competition allowed our Facebook fans to vote on their favorite “Big Trees” from across the United States. Working on this project provided me with the opportunity to collaborate with different people on the communications team, and the competition was a huge success!
My internship with American Forests has been a wonderful experience–one that I will miss next month when I return home to Texas for the summer. Working with a small communications team keeps me busy and on my toes every day I am in the office, and I already feel more prepared and qualified to start job hunting next semester. Having the opportunity to intern in Washington, D.C. is an experience I hope more students at the University of Maryland can take advantage of through Beyond the Classroom or other programs. It’s definitely worthwhile. Thanks American Forests and BTC!
Edited by Dr. Caitlin Haugen, Adjunct Instructor, Beyond the Classroom