Part of Turtle Island Restoration Network’s mission is to support and encourage the next generation of conservationists. Our residential internship program does just that by providing an opportunity for interns to live and work together at our California Headquarters for a period of six months. This post highlights Intern Sara Gendel.

Sara Gendel, a graduate student at Bard College in New York, joined the Turtle Island Restoration Network team this July as our newest conservation intern.

Gendel grew up in Hillsborough, New Jersey. She is currently studying to receive her Master of Science in Environmental Policy. Gendel spent her undergraduate career as an eco-artist at Drew University, where she majored in art and minored in psychology.

“I wanted to bring to light how important the environment is,” said Gendel, explaining why she focused in eco-art. “I wanted to find a way to make a difference in the environmental world and I came across the unique program at Bard College, and thought ‘This is perfect,’” she said.

As Turtle Island’s Conservation Intern, Gendel has conducted research for a report for the Costa Rican and Ecuadorian governments on the importance of protecting the swimway between Cocos Island and the Galapagos Islands. She is also helping SPAWN compile a salmon report by organizing smolt data from previous years. She enjoys the hands-on opportunities of the internship ranging from assisting with stream surveys to helping with habitat restoration.

Her two favorite experiences with Turtle Island have been working with all the teachers who attended last month’s Summer Salmon Institute (SSI), and working outside doing restoration.

“I like seeing the physical changes and knowing you’re actually making a difference,” said Gendel. She is passionate about communicating environmentalism through art and found the environmental education discussions at the SSI inspirational.

Traveling is big on her agenda. She lives for meeting new people and learning about cultures. Sara loves photography, hiking, and yoga. She can often be found striking a yoga pose in peculiar places. Her new favorite place to practice yoga is at sea! Recently she has discovered stand up paddleboard yoga and can’t get enough!

After her internship with Turtle Island, Sara will finish her master’s program and pursue her interests in animal behavior by working with wildlife rescues and conservation issues. Please join us in welcoming Sara to Turtle Island!

If you would like to view Sara’s artwork, please click here.