Tristin Joachim – Student on the Job

Tristin Joachim is an EES junior with a concentration in sustainability, environmental policy, and natural resource management. This summer, he was an intern for Wildlands Conservation, a non-profit organization in Florida that focuses on conservation planning, land management, land protection, research, education and outreach. Tristin’s internship focused on studying and trapping the invasive tegu lizard spreading through Florida from South America. The lizards can grow to be about 4 feet long and they eat fruits, rodents, and eggs. When the lizards prey on the eggs, it poses a threat to native species like alligators, gopher tortoise, and some species of birds that lay their eggs on the ground. Joachim and his colleagues are working to try and find an effective way to reduce their population that will benefit the ecosystem as well as the lizards’ needs.

“This internship helped me get a better understanding of what field work entails and different ways species management is approached first hand.” Whether swapping SD cards in the cameras, reviewing the pictures, checking traps, or finding new field sites to work on, Tristin learned that there’s always something to be done in the field. Tristin learned more about animal behavior by reviewing the pictures on the camera, finding game trails, and studying which traps have the most activity. “Working with Wildlands Conservation has also given me a first glimpse of what my career might be like and so far, I like what I see. The days are long and the sun is hot, but I like the fact that I’m making a difference. I plan on doing more research with Wildlands Conservation in the future and maybe one day I’ll be a full-time employee,” Tristin reflected.