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Cindy Brockman, a student at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, received firsthand experience in conservation work during an internship with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC). As a Public Recreation and Park Administration major, Cindy was able to complete fieldwork and receive introductory training in easement monitoring and fee land management that complemented her studies. Under the guidance of Carlen Emanuel, ATC’s land protection manager, Cindy devoted more than 200 hours to photographing and videoing easements and fee lands in the Appalachian Trail’s (A.T.) mid-Atlantic region. Her documentation was crucial to understanding the condition of the environment along an area of the A.T. that didn’t have up-to-date monitoring records.
As a college student with special needs, Cindy’s internship with the ATC provided her with the opportunity to not only play a critical role in land management efforts, but also practice autonomy in a real-world work environment that values innovation.