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The Intern Intel Report: Summer 2019 #2

Hi everyone! My name is Taylor Wurts and I am a new Legislative Affairs intern at Mass Audubon. I am a rising senior at Tufts University where I study International Relations, Economics, and French. I have been fortunate enough to have had many incredible experiences in the outdoors and am honored to help protect the planet with Mass Audubon’s advocacy department this summer.

Growing up and going to school in Massachusetts, the organization’s many incredible wildlife sanctuaries were never far from home. Some of my earliest memories are of watching the goats at Drumlin Farm, while more recently I’ve frequently cross paths with Mass Audubon sanctuaries while training as a member of Tufts’s cross country and track and field teams. Similarly, as a trip leader for an outdoor education program last summer, I led bike touring and camping trips for teenagers that traversed Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. Sharing the unique beauty of these natural landscapes and teaching conservation, leave no trace, and outdoor living principles, I was reminded daily of the importance of preserving our state’s many resources so that future generations can be afforded the same opportunities I have. Organizations like Mass Audubon are leading this charge, whether through advocacy efforts at the State House, conservation initiatives at fifty-nine sanctuaries across the state, or educational outdoor programs and camps.

This summer, I hope to gain a more nuanced understanding of how the policy process works at both the state and federal level, and leave with valuable tools to help effect environmental change. Afterwards, I will be finishing up my studies at Tufts University before hopefully beginning an environmentally-focused career. I seek to one day work at the intersection of international relations and environmental policy, helping to forge an increasingly critical global climate regime. I am eager to get to work with Mass Audubon and hope you all join me for this adventure!

The Intern Intel Report: Summer 2019 #1

I’m Jenna Clemenzi, a Legislative Affairs intern at Mass Audubon. I grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts and just recently moved to Boston. I graduated from Simmons University in May ’19 with my BA in Political Science, and I’ll be returning to Simmons in the fall to start my Master of Public Policy. I’ve always had an interest in environmental policies and sustainability, so I’m excited to learn more about Mass Audubon’s advocacy initiatives this summer.

During my senior year of high school, I interned at Mass Audubon’s Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. I grew up nearby this sanctuary and enjoyed hiking the trails and canoeing along the Ipswich River. I loved spending time outside and visiting the sanctuary, so it was the perfect way to end my senior year! I learned how the staff preserves and manages the grounds, and helped upkeep the sanctuary, doing everything from clearing trails to managing groups of volunteers. This experience gave me a great appreciation for Mass Audubon and the work they do to protect nature in Massachusetts.   

As a Public Policy student, I am interested in pursuing a career related to environmental policy. I’m always looking for ways to live more sustainably and I’d love for my career to have a positive environmental impact too! I’m looking forward to spending this summer learning more about current environmental legislation in Massachusetts, and the influence that organizations like Mass Audubon can have on state policies.

The Intern Intel Report #2: Summer 2018 Edition

My name is Elizabeth MeLampy, and I am a new Conservation Policy Intern at Mass Audubon. I am from Dunstable, Massachusetts, but I’ve lived in and around Boston for the past few years. I graduated from Harvard in 2016, where I studied comparative religion with a minor in global health and health policy. During one of my summers in college, I interned on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and became fascinated by the modern political process. After graduation, I worked at a law firm in Boston for two years, and I will be returning to Harvard for law school in the fall. As I prepare for law school and all of these threads come together this summer, I find myself considering a path in environmental or animal law. In the meantime, I am excited to be here on Beacon Hill learning about conservation policy and legislation.

Despite my varied background, I have always loved bird watching and I’ve had a constant and deep respect for wildlife of all forms. Whether hiking in the White Mountains or enjoying the beaches of Cape Cod, running along the Charles or kayaking in a wooded lake, I love spending time in the natural world. It is a gift, and I believe we have a responsibility to protect it.

I have recently begun to understand how policy and regulations can have real and serious effects on even the most seemingly mundane aspects of non-human life. I am eager to learn about Mass Audubon’s priorities and to participate in promoting its messages and agenda. Already while interning at Mass Audubon, the Massachusetts Senate has debated amendments to their budget that would have lasting effects for local communities and their conservation efforts. It is energizing to see how big ideas about the environment and wildlife translate into concrete policy like this. I am excited to be a part of it all this summer!

The Intern Intel Report #1: Summer 2018 Edition

Hi! I’m Jetta Cook and I’m a new Conservation Policy Intern here at Mass Audubon. I’m an incoming senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I’m double majoring in Natural Resource Conservation and Legal Studies. For as long as I can remember, I have had a love for the outdoors, and the creatures that call it home. I hope to enter the field of environmental law and policy to help in the fight to preserve our natural world.

Growing up on Cape Cod, it was hard not to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Being surrounded by such large areas of protected land allowed me great opportunities that I would like to help ensure for the next generation. I became acquainted with Mass Audubon and the great work they do through my time spent at Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, where I explored both with my family and through their summer camp sessions, which I both attended and volunteered for. I also helped volunteer at Cape Cod National Seashore for both their Interpretive and Natural Resource divisions, protecting the land and helping to show visitors what makes that park so special. Through these opportunities, it has become clear to me that through the hard work and dedication of these organizations, crucial land and habitat can be protected, along with the wildlife species that depend on them.

Going forward, I hope to continue more into the field of environmental law and policy to help ensure the conservation of our natural world. I am hoping to go to law school to give me more tools to assist in my passion for conservation. Over the course of the summer, I will be gaining experience to help me on my way. I will be writing more blog posts about this journey, and I hope you will all come along for the ride!

Conservation Policy intern Jetta Cook


The Intern Intel Report #2: Summer 2017 Edition

Hello!  My name is Helen Moore and I am a new Conservation Policy Intern at Mass Audubon.  I am currently a senior at Marietta College majoring in English and minoring in Advertising and Public Relations.  While I study in Ohio, I am a New Englander at heart, having been raised in Connecticut and spending summers in Maine.  Throughout my life, I have spent large quantities of time on bodies of water; whether it’s a lake, river, or ocean, I have developed a familiarity and connection with the aquatic environment.

Up to now, I have experience with environmental cleanups in Connecticut, Ohio, and Maine.  When I joined my high school rowing team, the coaching staff and rowers had a tradition: the annual river cleanup day, where we cleaned the river we rowed on for 3-4 hours.  I then continued rowing for Marietta College, where we also dedicated hours to cleaning up the Muskingum River.  During the summers I live on Little Sebago Lake, Maine, and became involved with The Little Sebago Lake Association.  The organization primarily concentrates on the removal of the non-native, invasive plant called milfoil.  Growing up on this lake, I did not know of the environmental health hazards lying under the surface until this experience exposed me to the importance of maintaining certain species entering and exiting bodies of water.  I am reminded from Mass Audubon’s land and coastal preservation that it is important to manage invasive species so native species can flourish.

During this last year of school I plan to continue working toward my degree and hope to participate in more environmental cleanups, as well helping maintain conservation for land and waterways.  I want to further educate myself in public relations to help organizations such as Mass Audubon increase public awareness and engagement.  Over the course of this internship, I will be writing several blogs to document my experience learning about environmental advocacy and preservation.  I hope you will join me on this journey.

The Intern Intel Report #1: Summer 2017 Edition

Hello, my name is Yaelle Sarid-Segal and I’m a new Conservation Policy Intern at Mass Audubon. I study Biology with a specialization in Ecology and Conservation with a minor in Sociology and Marine Science at Boston University. I’m particularly interested in the intersection between conservation and human rights along with poverty-driven poaching, so I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to learn more about the process of advocacy work and governmental affairs.

Prior to starting school, I interned at MASSPIRG while they advocated for the Bottle Bill, which unfortunately failed due to industry pressure. At university, I worked as a volunteer in a lab that studied carbon cycling and climate change’s effect on Eastern forests. I have volunteered in West Virginia in building affordable housing that aims to be sustainable while controlling costs. Trying to gain a greater understanding of human rights, I’ve worked for the past four years at AIDS Action Committee in Cambridge. This experience has exposed me to the inequities in healthcare experience by those living in poverty, particularly with a chronic illness; I’ve also learned about the complexities of the system related to affordable housing — the lack of availability, the high costs, and the resistance of legislators and communities in assuring that all people have a roof over their head. Seeing the work Mass Audubon does with the Community Preservation Coalition to utilize spaces to create affordable houses and parks that benefit the community is an important reminder that environmental preservation is directly related to poverty and health.

Yaelle Sarid-Segal

I look forward to the fall, where I will be part of a Marine Program through BU; not only will I be engaged in Coral Reef Restoration in Belize, but I will also take part in field studies that measure population statistics of threatened species off the Gulf of Maine, the physical evolution of the shoreline at Plum Island (part of the national Long Term Ecological Network), how nutrient loading from human activity impacts the biogeochemistry of the marine environment, and how urban development effects marine ecology.

After graduation, I hope to begin working on the relationship between modern slavery and environmental degradation, combining what I’ve learned to advocate for human rights in biodiversity hot spots. Over the course of this internship, I will write several blogs to document Mass Audubon’s work to strengthen environmental laws. I look forward to this experience, and I hope you too will learn about conservation legislation.

Yaelle Sarid-Segal is Mass Audubon’s Summer 2017 Conservation Policy intern.

The Intern Intel Report #2: Spring 2017 Edition

Hello again! This is Paige, Mass Audubon’s Conservation Policy Intern, writing to update you about all the exciting work I’ve been involved with here on Beacon Hill.

Pollinator Protection

One in every three bites of food we eat depends on pollinators, who contribute more than $24 billion to the U.S. economy. Over the past few months, I compiled compiled research(pdf) on the policy actions of other states to protect pollinators such as butterflies, bees, beetles, and moths, which are suffering from global declines. Pollinator protection policies have been enacted in 18 states covering pollinator research, pesticides, habitat protection, awareness, or beekeeping; at least 26 states also have pollinator protection plans in place. Massachusetts has recently released its own pollinator protection plan, for which Mass Audubon submitted comments. Despite this positive development, there is still work to be done. Mass Audubon is supporting state legislationAn Act to protect pollinator habitat (S.451/H.2926), establishing a commission to improve pollinator health by increasing and enhancing native pollinator habitat, as well as other legislation to reduce pesticide use and establish official guidance for pollinator forage.

Wild lupine is native to Massachusetts and helps attract bees and butterflies. Photo credit: Aaron Carlson

Climate Change Adaptation

In April, I attended a meeting to discuss the Commonwealth’s newly launched Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. Scientists estimate that Boston could experience 26 inches of sea level rise by 2050, resulting in $463 billion worth of property damage and serious harm to residents. The MVP program will help cities and towns become more resilient by identifying climate-related hazards, creating an action plan to reduce vulnerabilities, and capacity building.

Hurricane Sandy hitting the coast of Hull, MA. Photo credit: Aislinn Dewey

Mass Audubon co-chairs the Massachusetts Climate Change Adaptation Coalition which is comprised of engineers, architects, planners, and environmental organizations, all concerned about the impacts of climate change on the Commonwealth. The coalition has also been focusing on passage of An Act providing for the establishment of a comprehensive adaptation management plan in response to climate change (S.472/H.2147), which would establish a planning process to address the impacts of climate change, and expand the technical assistance programs available to cities and towns. Given President Trump’s recent announcement that the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, state efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change are more important now than ever.

Farewell for Now

This spring I attended meetings at the State House to advocate for increased funding for environmental agencies in the state budget, and land conservation programs such as the Community Preservation Act and the Conservation Land Tax Credit. I have learned so much over the past few months and thank Mass Audubon’s Advocacy Department for being so welcoming and inclusive and for guiding me through this wonderful experience! I will continue to help out in the office this summer, researching climate adaptation efforts across the U.S., among other assignments. I am currently exploring opportunities to work full-time in the field of environmental conservation and climate change.

Paige Dolci is Mass Audubon’s spring 2017 conservation policy intern.


The Intern Intel Report #1: Spring 2017 Edition

By Paige Dolci

Hello! My name is Paige Dolci, and I am Mass Audubon’s new Conservation Policy Intern. I am currently a senior at Boston University majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Environmental Analysis and Policy. I have a particular interest in the intersection of science and advocacy, making the opportunity to work in the Legislative Affairs office very exciting.

So far, my experience includes assisting with research on climate change and nutrient cycling both in Boston and abroad in New Zealand. Specifically, I conducted lab and fieldwork to analyze samples from New Zealand’s kauri forests, a landscape currently compromised by a fungus-like disease, in addition to mangroves, an ecosystem with a potentially important role in carbon sequestration. Back in Boston, my past internship focused on a coastal ecosystem of Cape Cod and its response to human-induced changes. I have also held two positions with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, an organization working to restore the local park system and reconnect people with nature. I was able to assist with both volunteer coordination and fieldwork management along with communications and PR.

Paige on Aoraki, the highest mountain in New Zealand

During my last semester of college, I will continue to write for BU’s Earth and Environment Review in order to promote environmental awareness, without which achieving a sustainable, equitable world would be impossible. Additionally, I am completing an independent study to improve the EPA’s municipal environmental justice policy and devise more effective communication about lead poisoning for the Boston Public Health Commission. After graduation, I hope to be a sound member of the conservation field, combining what I’ve learned both inside and outside of the classroom to help facilitate progress that ensures the security of future generations.

Over the course of this internship, I will be writing several blogs to document my learning experience, sharing Mass Audubon’s current efforts to develop and strengthen environmental laws and my role in the process. I hope you’ll join me on this rewarding journey!

The Intern Intel Report #3

By Kylie Armo

Kylie here, back with a final report on my summer as a Conservation Policy Intern at Mass Audubon.

July 31st, 2016 marked the end of formal sessions in the 2015-2016 Massachusetts legislative session, and the last few weeks have revolved around pushing through a final round of legislation and getting a jump start on preparations for next session.

End of the Session Rush

Once formal sessions have concluded, all bills in the House or the Senate that haven’t made it through the entire legislative process and been enacted into law automatically die. In order for these bills to be considered further, they must be re-introduced during the next session and start again from square one. Consequently, everyone from legislators to lobbyists is keen to push through their priority bills before the clock runs out.

At Mass Audubon’s Legislative Affairs office, we primarily focused on the enactment of An Act to promote energy diversity (H. 4385, aka the “energy bill”), and more specifically the inclusion of a climate adaption management plan (CAMP) within that bill. My latest contributions to CAMP advocacy involved the delivery throughout the State House of materials aimed at raising climate resiliency awareness. With that goal in mind, I delivered informational packets on CAMP to the energy bill conference committee members and distributed invitations to a Boston sea level rise presentation to all legislators.

Though the energy bill was successfully passed on July 31st, and included landmark offshore wind procurements, our climate adaptation provisions were unfortunately stripped from the final bill. All is not lost however, and Mass Audubon will continue to push for climate legislation on Beacon Hill.

The comprehensive energy bills mandates the largest procurement of offshore wind in the nation

The comprehensive energy bill mandates the nation’s largest offshore wind procurement. Photo credit: Kim Hansen

Thinking Ahead to 2017  

In the midst of these final acts of formal policy making, plans and preparations for the next legislative session are also being formulated.

I recently attended a meeting focused on water policy at The Nature Conservancy that included planning for the 2017-2018 session. Comprised of advocates dedicated to the protection of the Commonwealth’s water resources, the group reviewed their positions on water legislation and discussed policy priorities for the next session. As climate models project that Massachusetts’ current drought conditions will only become more frequent and intense in the future, engagement with sustainable water polices at the state level is increasingly important.

The Quabbin Reservoir is the primary water source for Boston

The Quabbin Reservoir is the primary water source for Boston. Photo credit: Alexander Glazkov

Another recent meeting focused on the preparation of the Environmental League of Massachusetts’s (ELM) recommendations for the FY18 state budget, which are annually circulated via their Green Budget publication. ELM’s Green Budget, which Mass Audubon supports and advocates for each year, urges funding for environmental agencies at levels enabling them to sufficiently fulfill their duties and safeguard the health of Massachusetts citizens and natural resources. For the past few years, just 0.6% of the state operating budget has been allocated to the environment – that’s less than a penny for every dollar in the budget. Organizations like ELM and Mass Audubon want to restore environmental funding to at least 1% of the total operating budget.

Witnessing strategies being developed for the next legislative session serves as an inspiring reminder that there are skilled, passionate, and hard-working advocates fighting each and every day to ensure that our laws protect the people and nature of Massachusetts. I have been fortunate to work and learn alongside these individuals and organizations, particularly as a team member of Mass Audubon, a leader in the field whose engagement with conservation policy is thoughtful, science-based, and impactful.

It has certainly been an educational and unforgettable summer. Thanks for reading and following along on my journey – I hope it has provided some interesting insight into environmental policy on Beacon Hill!

Kylie Armo is Conservation Policy Intern, Summer 2016

The Intern Intel Report #2

by Kylie Armo

Hello again! This is Kylie, Mass Audubon Conservation Policy Intern, back with another report on my summer endeavors. Many of my latest experiences have provided me with the chance to learn from the organizations and individuals around me, while others have allowed me to contribute skills of my own.

Inspiring Learning Opportunities

Throughout the summer I have been able to learn about Mass Audubon and conservation in the Commonwealth by attending a variety of seminars and workshops. These events have ranged from a talk at The Nature Conservancy on building climate change resilience to weekly educational lunch sessions hosted by the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM) for Boston environmental and legislative interns.

Interns attend ELM's workshop series

Interns attend ELM’s workshop series. Photo credit: ELM

A highlight of these educational experiences was my visit to Broad Meadow Brook (BMB), one of the wildlife sanctuaries – of which there are 100+ – under the care of Mass Audubon.

Located in Worcester over an expanse of 430 acres, Broad Meadow Brook is the largest urban wildlife sanctuary in New England and serves as a “sanctuary in the city” for the residents of the Worcester.

During my visit, I learned that they are currently in the process of renovating their visitor center, and are using Low Impact Development (LID) techniques to do so as sustainably as possible.

LID is an approach to land development that works with nature to manage water runoff, and includes the use of practices and tools such as rain barrels, permeable pavers, and “no mow” areas. Benefits of LID solutions include the reduced flooding, improved water quality, and protection of natural landscape features.

It was amazing to learn about and view first-hand BMB’s purposeful growth, ultimately aimed at servicing future visitors in a positive, accessible and eco-conscious way.

Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary

Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary

Writing & Research Contributions

As a Mass Audubon intern, I have also had opportunities to support the Legislative Affairs office’s development of communication materials through an assortment of writing and research projects.

Opportunities to write have arisen not only through this blog series, but through other forums as well. On behalf of Mass Audubon, I recently wrote a letter to the Senate President and the House Ways and Means Chair urging them to override Governor Baker’s budget cuts as they slashed funding for the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency dedicated to supporting arts and culture in Massachusetts. Securing funding for environmentally-oriented organizations and programs is a significant component of Mass Audubon’s advocacy work.

I’ve also taken on a few small research projects digging into background materials and sources on current legislative issues and writing projects. Recently, I did some investigating into “climate change lawsuits”: court cases that are being brought against state agencies and corporations by citizens claiming that the greenhouse gas emissions emitted and permitted by these organizations is a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine, the principle by which the government holds in trust designated resources (such as navigable waterways) for public use and benefit. These individuals are attempting to leverage the judicial system to protect our climate and future generations, and their cases are a fascinating component of the intricate relationship between climate change and the political system.

My time engaging with environmental and political matters at Mass Audubon this summer is nearing its end, but I am excited to continue learning from and participating in the environmental advocacy field in the weeks that remain!

Kylie Armo is Conservation Policy Intern, Summer 2016