This fall, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) created a new internship opportunity at ADK’s Public Affairs Office in Albany, NY. ADK’s Conservation Intern is the vision of long time (over 40 years) member Jack Freeman, an active member in ADK’s Conservation Committee and Chair of ADK’s Archive Committee. Jack’s vision was to have a graduate student shadow ADK’s Executive Director, Neil Woodworth, in order to train and provide practical experience for the next generation of conservation advocates in the way that ADK has historically been known for. Since 1998, ADK has had an office in Albany so that it could exert an even greater influence on the legislature through lobbying efforts. According to Neil Woodworth, “ADK’s advocacy program has achieved a great deal of political influence and is seen as a major stakeholder in policy related to not only the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves, but all the public, wild lands and waters throughout the state.” It is because of this success that Jack wanted this wealth of knowledge transferred to future conservation advocates.
Paul Gallery, a graduate student from the University of Albany, was hired as ADK’s first Conservation Intern. Paul grew up in Niskayuna, NY and is no stranger to ADK. He was a Summer Naturalist Intern at ADK’s Heart Lake Program Center in 2008 and 2009, and worked at the High Peaks Information Center during the summer of 2012. He is currently working on a M.A. degree in Geography with a focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Albany.
Paul has a very broad conservation background which includes work with The New York State Museum as a mammology intern, studying New York’s fisher population; he has worked with the Albany Pine Bush managing invasive plant species and as a fire technician; he is also a graduate of the National Park Service Seasonal Law Enforcement Academy and a wildland firefighter which has even taken him out west. Most recently, Paul has worked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a GIS specialist mapping current and historic fire occurrences across New York State. All these experiences gives Paul a diverse conservation background which gives him a solid foundation for working with and learning from the diverse set of issues that ADK’s Public Affairs Office works on.
2014 is the pilot year for this internship but ADK hopes to endow this internship in the future. “We want to train the next generation of conservationists,” said Neil Woodworth in an interview. ADK hopes that this internship is one of the first steps in meeting that goal. Without the generous support provided by Jack Freeman, this Conservation Internship would not be possible. THANK YOU, JACK!
Photo Credit: Jacqueline Keating