CCA Texas & TPWD Intern Partnership Continues

CCA Texas
CCA Texas & TPWD Intern Partnership Continues
CCA sponsored intern, Brian Witherell, helping with a survey net in Aransas Bay.
CCA Texas and Texas Parks Wildlife Department (TPWD) are currently in the eighth year of a successful internship program that has grown from one student working in the Upper Laguna Madre field station to four. CCA's support during 2009 has made it possible for interns to work in the Aransas Bay system, Corpus Christi Bay system, Upper Laguna Madre and Lower Laguna Madre. These interns are students from the Texas A&M Corpus Christi campus with Marine Biology studies and are screened, interviewed and eventually hired to play a crucial role in TPWD's efforts to manage and enhance Texas's coastal marine resources.

The intern program offers a unique opportunity for actual hands on work in the student's field of education and gives them valuable insight into the type of work they might someday be doing in a full time position for TPWD. At the same time, this program gives TPWD a forward look into a potential fulltime employee's ability, work ethic and desire to be part of the TPWD Coastal Fisheries staff. Experience, commonsense, knowledge and work ethic are crucial to the continued success of TPWD Coastal Fisheries data collection effort. Sampling procedures and data collection are the steering mechanisms that direct management strategies in place today and also for the future.

Current intern student, Brian Witherell recently commented, "Not only have I had a blast working in the outdoors and helping conserve our wildlife resources, but I have had a chance to actually use the skills I have learned in school. While you can gain knowledge in a classroom, it can not compare to the knowledge and skills you gain when you are applying it in the real world."

The summer intern's job responsibilities follow those of any of the full time employees. These interns participate in all parts of the coastal fisheries technician's job and these responsibilities include sampling (gill nets, bag seines, trammel nets and other gear), data entry and review, boat maintenance and creel surveys at local boat ramps. In addition, the interns are an asset to the individual labs during one of the busiest times of the year for the coastal fisheries labs.

"The summer interns are really working out well this year, as usual," commented Corpus Christi Bay Eco-system Leader, Perry Trial. Perry commented further, "The Corpus Christi team has especially benefited from the interns this year. One of our team's technicians was promoted leaving us a man short during one of our busiest times and the intern was able to fill in and keep our staff at a reasonable work load."

CCA Texas sees the TPWD summer intern program as a valuable tool in the pursuit of good science for fisheries management and as an opportunity to help bring young and talented employees to TPWD.

"This program started eight years ago to give a student from Texas A&M Corpus Christi the opportunity to work side by side with TPWD technicians in the Upper Laguna Madre. The program has since grown to four interns working in the Aransas Bay system, the Corpus Christi Bay system and the Upper and Lower Laguna Madre," commented CCA Texas Executive Director Robby Byers. Byers continued, "CCA Texas is a firm believer in sound science for fisheries management and this program helps give the future marine biologists a head start as they transition from their education to employment."