By Lola Olvera, ENC Communications Intern
Sixteen weeks ago I first set foot on the soil of the Environmental Nature Center in a pair of decidedly non-non-skid black flats (not recommended as, eventually, you may slip and fall pathetically after venturing out on the trails on your own). I was there to interview for a communications internship with Communications Director Lori Whalen.
I can’t remember what I had been doing poking around a Berkley internship webpage or why an environmental nature center intrigued me, someone who still had to Google whether certain things were recycled and couldn’t tell one suburban bird from another. But the sudden enveloping peacefulness of the trails and Lori’s unwavering enthusiasm in everything kinda sealed the deal.
In terms of the nitty-gritty of an internship, I hoped to gain a more broad experience with digital content, including writing, photography, videography and social media. I already had a couple years of experience with hard journalism but being able to pick up and apply these skills in a more general, “real-life” setting was one of my goals.
Through regular blog posts and press releases I learned versatility and conciseness in writing and by experimenting with photos and videos I was able to express ideas in an entirely new, refreshing way. With its never-ending programs and melee of inexhaustive children, there was always something going on.
Crossing over into the realm of public relations and marketing at first felt like a blow to the sense of journalistic integrity that had been hammered into me after three years of schooling. But after getting to know the Environmental Nature Center, I realized that there are places that are worth supporting.
Whether it’s on their Twitter feed sharing links to relevant environmental news or in the relative privacy of the office where chatter filters through cubicles, there is no denying that the people here care deeply about many things. They are gentle and kind with the shifting groups of kids that come bussing in to dig their hands in the dirt but they are strong willed and stubborn about their beliefs and values. They not only preach about environmental health but chip in to do their part every day.
I will miss the expansive greenery and many trails of the ENC (paths which even after sixteen weeks still manage to flummox me). I will miss the staunch support of Lori, a mentor who always gives her interns the liberty to hone their skills and explore new ideas. I will miss the sound of Executive Director Bo Glover singing along to the Grateful Dead on Friday afternoons.
But also, I won’t miss it too much because it won’t be the last time I see it. There’s something very entrancing about being lost in the trails and enveloped in the trees for a while, hearing nothing but the sound of my own tinnitus. It’s a place that you’d go out of your way to return to just to find some peace of mind.