We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors;
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Press Release

September 14, 2011

New Wildlife for Everyone Partnership to Provide Support for Wildlife Internships

The Wildlife For Everyone Endowment Foundation is helping to expand an innovative internship program that originated in 1999 in the Southwest Region of the Pennsylvania Game Commission to give college students hands-on experience in skills needed for careers in wildlife management.

The new Richard Guadagno Internship Program will provide stipends to students working eight-week internships with the commission’s regional office for the first time.  Guadagno, a hero of Flight 93, was a wildlife biologist and manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in northern California.  He also was known for sharing nature with youth to get them interested in the wildlife professions.

Previously in his memory, as one of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93 who prevented terrorists from reaching their intended destination with the hijacked plane on Sept. 11, 2001, was enshrined in the Richard Guadagno Wildlife Habitat Area within State Game Lands 93 adjacent to the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County.  Guadagno’s family worked with the Game Commission and WFEEF to establish the new funded internship program.

“Most of the 64 college students from 18 different colleges and universities who previously completed the internship did so as volunteers and received college credit for the work but no funding to defray their costs,” according to Joe Stefko, wildlife education supervisor in the Southwest Region.  “As the cost of fuel, living expenses and college have increased many qualified and interested students have been unable to participate in this program,” he explained.   “Over the past five years there has been a marked decrease in recruitment from schools outside the southwest region.  We have the opportunity to recruit students from other areas of the state, but we need to be able to offer them some form of compensation, at least for fuel and travel.”

“In addition,” Stefko said, “the availability of internships could allow the program to expand to other commission regions across the state and to bring in students with interest areas beyond wildlife biology, including geographic information systems, forestry, law enforcement and others.”

Previous interns have worked in summer bat roost surveys, breeding bird surveys, Canada goose banding, bear trapping, wildlife habitat assessments, vegetation sampling, legal updates and deputy meetings, data entry and analysis, report writing, wildlife biometrics and tissue samples, library research and educational programming.

WFEEF will administer the new internship program, providing a simple venue for donors interested in supporting it and promoting it to potential donors and interns.  For regular updates on the internship program, its alumni and its latest interns, visit the WFEEF website at www.wildlifeforeveryone.org

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