Environmental education interns Sarah Cartwright and Anna Papperman have developed a program for young people at the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park, in addition to their regular duties.
Margo Olson, the preserve and park’s executive director, said the park was fortunate to receive a grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership this year so she could hire two interns rather than the usual one.
“They support each other. They have exceeded our expectations,” Olson said.
Cartwright and Papperman have created the Pre-School Pioneers program for children ages 3 through 6. The program invites the children and their parents to go out on short nature walks and learn about the colors, shapes and numbers found in nature.
“We have several families who attend every month,” Papperman said. The monthly program was developed over the summer and implemented in September.
The interns also regularly present programs in local schools, discussing the endangered Karner blue butterfly found at the approximately 2,000-acre preserve on the east side of Wilton between Ballard Road and Route 50.
The interns also conduct a host of presentations and regular programs at the park. For example, Cartwright gave a presentation to a group of home-schooled students this week on how animals adapt to changing weather conditions and the seasons.
Her program focused on the way birds adapt. She discussed the way birds’ beaks and feet help them gather food and deal with changing weather conditions.
Papperman, 23, is a Waterford resident with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from Siena College in Loudonville and a master’s degree in science and natural resources from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. She found the internship via the Student Conservation Association.
Cartwright, 22, is a Schuylerville resident with a bachelor’s degree in biology from SUNY-Potsdam. She learned about the Wilton internship through a faculty member at SUNY-Potsdam.
Both Cartwright and Papperman started their one-year internships in May and June and will continue until May. They are both considering careers with the National Park Service as environmental educators. Cartwright is also thinking about returning to get a master’s degree in environmental education.
Both of the internships with the Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park are paid by the preserve and park with help from the New York State Conservation Partnership grant.
The Wilton Wildlife Preserve and Park is a partnership that includes the town of Wilton, The Nature Conservancy, Saratoga County and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.