My name is Alex Lin, I did the internship when I was going to be a sophomore here at UC Merced. I major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. Being in UC Merced, I’m less than only 2 hours from Yosemite National Park, I’ve always wanted to come here. The Yosemite Leadership Program allowed me to do this and it has helped me grow as a person. When I first heard about this internship I was amazed that it was a chance to live in Yosemite for an entire summer. When I came here I encountered challenges I had never prepared for before, such as being in an actual work environment, interviewing people, and podcasting. The most significant lesson I learned here was how to communicate with others. In the beginning I didn’t talk or try to work with anyone by habit which made my job significantly more difficult. This opportunity to come and work here in Yosemite was unreal, I would have never thought that I would be able to call this place my home. I have always loved national parks but I never actually felt connected to them beyond my camera’s lens because I didn’t actually know anything about the park. This program has taught me about the wilderness, the geology, the balance of fire in nature, to the stewardship of the park. Now I feel a connection. I think that if you live here long enough, you automatically develop that connection. Everyone has their own method to connecting with the park whether through climbing the rough granite rock faces of the landscape, backpacking in the wilderness, or discovering those breathtaking “no way” moments at the top of the world. In this internship I gained memories, knowledge, confidence, friends, and the most “no way” moments I have ever witnessed in a single summer. I hope you too can connect with Yosemite as I’ve done and experience your own “no way” moment.
I did the DNC (Delaware North Companies) Environmental Management Internship. My job consisted of a few projects that spanned over the course of the internship. I did a survey of bus tour companies about visitors feeding wildlife where I interviewed tour guides for their opinion on how to best encourage visitors to not interact with the wildlife then compiled the data into a list that I presented. I wrote sections for information books for the Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village, and the High Sierra Camps about the environmental aspects of the operations. For that project I called and visited the hotel and camp managers to research the information to write about. I worked on updating the DNC Yosemite Greenpath webpage by researching and calling the company managers for information I used for updating the webpage. The main project I did was a podcast about waste management at the High Sierra Camps. I wrote a script which included my lines as well as sound effects and timing. In making a podcast I learned and practiced how to speak and also how to edit the audio recording afterwards on a computer to improve the sound quality and to edit out background noises.
Over the summer we had wrote in journals answering question posed to us for the academic portion and writing about how are weeks had been. I personally had a hard time writing in the journals but I had my own means of making memories which were in the form of ~8600 pictures.
The DNC internships are slightly different from the other National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy internships. As a DNC intern I worked in Yosemite Valley which is about an hour from Wawona. I worked in Yosemite Village from Monday mornings to Thursday evenings and stayed in a Curry Village tent cabin neighborhood will hundreds of other employees. Each tent cabin has heating, electricity, 3 large cabinets, and 3 beds. There are several centralized bathroom and shower buildings as well as laundry and kitchen buildings. I typically bought bagels and fruits and such for breakfast, had lunch from the Village Store and the Village Grill, and had dinner at Yosemite Lodge’s food court. There is an optional meal plan as well as a standard 50% off food from the food court and grill, and 10% off for just about everything else. I drove from Wawona to the Valley on Monday mornings and typically got lucky and hitch hiked with other interns on Thursday evenings back to Wawona. Fridays were class days where we learned and discussed leadership topics through guest speakers and seminars. The weekends were just free time to go hiking and taking pictures.