Saying goodbye to The Nature Conservancy

Written by guest blogger Garrett Powers, TNC’s Summer Marketing Intern Extraordinaire

Today is my last day as marketing intern here at The Nature Conservancy. Time has really flown by–my starting day of June 6th feels like it was just a couple of weeks ago. But in that time that’s flown by so quickly, I’ve had the opportunity lend a hand to the great work that TNC does here in Kentucky.

One the great things about this internship has been its flexibility. From the beginning, Suzanne (my supervisor and comrade) was keen on designing the internship around my interests and skills. We worked together (mostly while I was abroad in London) on crafting goals and expectations for this position. She explained to me TNC’s needs at the time, and I did my best to work with my abilities to meet those needs.

Goals being what they are, and reality being what it is, however, meant that not every goal was reached. But that’s okay. My biggest project, for example, was to help design and implement a process for organizing some 11 thousand photos that TNC staff have taken over the years. Though I haven’t renamed and replaced each one of those photos, the skeleton of the system has been put into place, and that in itself is already a big step in the right direction.

My roles here at the Conservancy were always changing, and that’s a good thing, since my attention span, much to my chagrin, isn’t always well-suited to long, arduous projects. I’ve been, at one time or another, photographer, courier, event organizer, graphic designer, tumblr-er, filer, blogger, and coffee maker. (I must admit that my performance as coffee maker was lauded by at least two staff here at TNC–that praise will forever remain in my coffee-loving heart).

Interning at The Nature Conservancy this summer has been rewarding in several ways. For one, the people I’ve met here at TNC are some of the hardest-working, detail-oriented, passionate-about-what-they-do kind of people I’ve ever encountered. It’s a testament to their hard work that the Kentucky chapter of The Nature Conservancy is so successful–and, indeed, has had such a strong year last year in terms of fundraising and conservation. These people work hard every day to ensure that conservation projects are designed, implemented, maintained, advertised, and supported to the best that they can be. It’s been fantastic to work alongside them this summer–these people have served as mentors and friends to me every step of the way.

I’m really lucky to have had this internship here at TNC. I’ve begun to get a handle on all the ins-and-outs of a successful non-profit organization, when success is no small feat during these uncertain economic times. I’ve gained valuable interpersonal skills, like managing registration chaos at TNC events and staying calm and flexible when plans had to be abruptly changed. I’ve learned just how much an organization’s success depends on the way it markets itself to the community. As I begin my senior year at college, I’m not quite sure what my post-college life holds for me. Maybe volunteering for the Peace Corps to teach English or environmental studies. Maybe traveling for a bit. Maybe going to graduate school. Maybe working with an environmental non-profit. I’m comfortable not knowing quite yet–it means my opportunities are open. But I can always be assured that my experiences here at The Nature Conservancy–that what I’ve learned–will be useful in whatever I choose to do.

Plus, I’ve had tons of fun along the way.

Plus, they gave me cake the day before yesterday.


Me, mulling over things to tumbl on TNC’s tumblr