jake johnson - Ogallala Commons
COMMUNITY INTERN PROFILE
Hometown: Whiteface, Texas
Education: High School Student
Internship Partner: Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, Muleshoe, TX
Internship Dates: Summer 2012
As a small town resident who grew up on a family ranch, Jake has an appreciation for his roots and the land around it.
Jake had heard of the Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge as a kid, but never
knew the vast ecosystem that lived on the lands. During his internship at the
Refuge south of Muleshoe, Texas, Jake literally lived on-site, bringing a camper
trailer to serve as his home for the summer. His days began early and ended
at dark as he assisted refuge wildlife biologists with projects ranging from bird
counts to mending fences across the refuge’s 7,000 acres. He also partnered
with two other community interns to put on an educational field day for youth
and adults at the refuge, which attracted 100 people!
Jake worked with other youth participating in the refuge’s Youth Conservation
Core Program (YCC). This group of young men helped to build a playa demonstration area and other educational tools to help inform refuge visitors, local boy scout troops, and school groups. The YCC also collected
wildlife specimens for research and banding. Jake really found a passion for the work saying, “It’s really cool
how they catch them, and I really think I found a future in some sort of bird study….I really enjoy every minute
I spend out here.” Inspired by his work with wildlife, Jake is now enrolled at Eastern New Mexico University,
majoring in wildlife biology. He hopes to return to the area after graduation to work on his family ranch and as
a wildlife biologist.