How Kaela helped the BLM Glennallen Field office as an intern this summer

How Kaela helped the BLM Glennallen Field office as an intern this summer

During a recent visit with The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Youth Programs Coordinator, Amanda Friendshuh, and BLM intern, Kaela Gaylord, we learned how busy things have been and how Kaela’s internship has impacted her and those she’s worked with.

One reason the BLM has been busy is because they have entered the subsistence hunting permitting period all in preparation for the August hunting season.  Amanda explained, “Rural residents of the Copper River Valley and Delta Junction rely heavily on subsistence hunting. The BLM Glennallen Field Office issues a few thousand permits every year so these rural residents are able to hunt on BLM managed lands.”

But not everyone who needs a permit can make the drive to Glennallen. Amanda described how, “At the beginning of July, the Glennallen Field Office begins to prep for an annual trip to Delta Junction to issue permits. Hundreds of Delta residents use these subsistence-hunting permits and this saves them the 150-mile drive to Glennallen to sign for them. Three or four BLM employees travel to Delta for three days of issuing permits. This year we issued around 1,400 moose, caribou, and designated hunter permits in three days. A week after the Delta trip, Glennallen begins to issue permits to local residents of the Copper Valley.

With all of the permitting work, Amanda notes that having an intern has proved very useful. “Having Kaela here has been a great help! She filed thousands of hunt reports, staffed the front desk when we were busy, and answered subsistence questions. I was pretty overwhelmed trying to juggle my youth program work and subsistence, and she made a huge difference. In addition to subsistence support, she has also helped me with inventories and gear shuffling for youth programs. She even helped decorate and rode in the BLM Glennallen parade float on 4th of July, which took first place this year.”

Kaela has clearly impressed the BLM with her work. Amanda continued, “She is also a great youth leader during the hikes. Her safety-minded instructions and kind but firm manner with the participants is a great asset. I so appreciate her willingness to jump right in and handle situations she didn’t expect.”

When asked about her BLM experience, Kaela said, “I've learned a lot from my time at BLM. BLM does many things, and I feel they are true stewards of the land. They run a number of campgrounds and trails, and they do a lot of work for tourists and those who live in the area. They also do research, employ wildlife and fisheries biologists, and are heavily engaged within the community. 

My highlight so far has been the different camps, like OWLS [Outdoor Wilderness Leadership Skills], and Aquatic Ecology Camp. I really love being in these programs because not only do I get to design and teach my own lessons, I also learn a lot from the supervisors. It is very neat to be able to design my own mini-programs because I get to teach what is interesting to me, and what I think will be interesting to the kids. 

When asked her thoughts on the BLM before beginning her internship, Kaela indicated that her perspective had changed from then to now. She explained, “Before this summer, I barely had a clue about everything that BLM does, and now I can say that there are numerous employment options with a wide variety of options. I have also learned that while BLM is somewhat constricted by the government in what they can do, they do as much for everyone that is within their power, and they truly care about the people that come to them seeking assistance.”

For others seeking an opportunity such as Kaela’s, Youth Program Coordinator Amanda described the characteristics the BLM looks for. She said, “Having interns that are passionate about the outdoors, responsible, and willing to try something new is so important. Working here at the Glennallen Field Office provides you with numerous opportunities to do amazing things! One day you might be filing hunt reports, the next rafting down a Wild and Scenic River! Even doing youth programs, I have office days and other days backpacking in McCarthy! I absolutely love my job and I really enjoy working at this office and with these talented BLM employees. I would highly recommend the experience of being an intern here.”

If interested in learning more about internship opportunities like Kaela’s, please email Vicki Heisser at vheisser@alaska.edu, or click the button below to view more information on our website.

BLM Internships through PWSC
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