by Chelsea Moreno, ENC Communications Intern
As a public relations student with such a niche career path in science communication, finding internships I could truly be passionate about proved difficult for me. I began my search a year early, seeing if any listings caught my attention and I stumbled upon the Environmental Nature Center’s Outreach Intern listing. It wasn’t the type of internship I was hoping for, but the organization’s mission intrigued me. I visited ENCenter.org and to my delight, they also offered communications internships. At that moment, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to intern.
Communications, nature, and informal science education? It was perfect for me and I was thrilled.
At the time, I was enrolled in a Principle of Public Relations course, which emphasized the importance of hands-on experience in the industry. My professor gave us the assignment to job shadow a professional and I thought this was a great opportunity to job shadow Lori, Director of Communications at the ENC, to find out what an internship there was all about.
My classmate and I headed to Newport Beach to visit Lori and see what she does daily. I was impressed with how much she trusted us. She didn’t just have us obsere her, she tasked us with graphic design, writing press releases, and authoring blog posts. She led us outside to snap photos of the Little Naturalists and I was in awe of the vast wilderness held in the backyard of a nature center in Newport Beach. The tall redwoods, the babbling creek, speckles of orange poppies. It was all so beautiful.
Following my day at the ENC, I asked Lori if she needed an intern and to my surprise, she accepted right on the spot. For the past six months I’ve helped Lori promote so many of the programs the ENC holds every month.
I’ve learned how to schedule social media posts, shortcuts to writing press releases, how to use new graphic design programs, and how amazing working at a nonprofit can be, even when it means lending a helping hand and organizing the event decor closet (which I actually really enjoyed).
I loved being able to help further the ENC’s mission and I’ll miss so much about being a part of the team. From greeting everyone in the office, to seeing the excitement in Lori’s face when she comes up with new ideas, to hearing Naturalists exclaim, “Where did the snake go?!”, even constantly having ENC related browser tabs open on my laptop, but most of all, I’ll miss taking photos of Summer Nature Campers.
I loved exploring the trails and seeing the fruits of our labor as I captured campers’ smiling faces and excitement when the dedicated Naturalists led them though an engaging activity. Being able to see first-hand the campers learn in the beauty of the outdoors made all the work we do worthwhile.
I’ll cherish my time here, with all the new things I learned and the kind, passionate people I met. I admire Lori for her creativity, trust in her interns, not being afraid of new and fresh ideas, and all the hard work she puts into the ENC. Although my time as a communications intern is done, I hold the ENC close to my heart and I know I will be back for years to come.