Fostering a Love of the Land as a LandPaths’ Intern: An Interview with Andrew Magdaleno

Category: Blog, Internship, Staff, Stewardship, Volunteer, Young Stewards

By LandPaths Staff

May 26, 2023

It’s always worth trying things, even if you’re hesitant, and with such a supportive team behind you, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn and achieve.

Andrew Magdaleno, Young Steward/Communications Intern

An internship is an excellent way to gain experience in the field of community conservation in Sonoma County. In the second installment of a new interview series about what it’s like to intern at LandPaths, we sat down with Andrew Magdaleno. Andrew just wrapped up a four-month stint as a Young Steward/Communications intern. We’ll miss certainly miss Andrew’s knack for making funny, community minded TikToks and his commitment to caring for the land with intention and love.

How did you first hear about LandPaths? 

At the time, I was looking for an environmental company to intern under since I had just recently graduated from college. A friend of mine who works for Sonoma Ag + Open Space encouraged me to subscribe to various environmental organizations blasts to stay updated with job postings, one of them being LandPaths.

What made you decide to become an intern here?  

After attending a couple of public outings with the stewardship team, I realized that I enjoyed working outside with nature and shared a passion for protecting our planet. Another reason I decided to intern here was that everyone here at the company was friendly and supportive, which motivated me to contribute my skills and become part of the team. 

What were some of your favorite parts of being a LandPaths’ intern?  

Some of my most memorable moments include doing burn piles with the young stewards at the Riddell Preserve in Healdsburg and seeing everyone contribute and communicate effectively to control the fire from getting unmanageable. Another favorite moment of my internship was doing the professor walks with the Young Stewards which included learning about the biodiversity at preserves stewarded by LandPaths. One more favorite moment of mine was going into the office and discussing and planning with Leilani (Communications Lead) about what I should capture for this week’s social media post, as I always found it helpful to bounce ideas off of her and get a fresh perspective on our content strategy. 

Did your connection to nature in Sonoma County and/or sense of belonging in nature grow over the course of your internship? How?  

Yes, my connection to nature in Sonoma County did grow throughout my internship, as I had the opportunity to work most of my days outdoors, observing and studying the nature around me. It made me more appreciative of the beauty and complexity of plants around me, and it made me realize how crucial it is for us to take care of our environment. However, there was one person who made me more grateful for the resources that nature provides us and showed me how to appreciate the beauty and abundance of our natural world. I will always be thankful for the guidance and wisdom of this person. 

For young people stand in front of a stand of oak trees. They are smiling and look happy.
Andrew (far left) with other members of the Young Stewards Spring 2023 cohort at Bohemia Ecological Preserve.
How has doing this internship positively impacted your life?  

Besides helping me build a better connection with nature, I gained invaluable experience managing a social media page and creating educational content to keep our followers engaged. It also helped me improve my video editing skills and gave me the knowledge I needed to improve my career. 

For people thinking about volunteering with LandPaths but haven’t made the leap yet – what would you tell them about your experience?  

Overall it was a rewarding experience to have had the opportunity to work for a fantastic company where I felt like my contributions were valued. It felt nice making a difference in the community I grew up in while also learning new skills and meeting the staff at LandPaths,’ as they were always supportive and friendly. I would highly recommend anyone to come out and join, whether it be removing vegetation from a forest, building accessible trails, or participating in a controlled burn pile. It’s always worth trying things, even if you’re hesitant, and with such a supportive team behind you, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn and achieve.

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