Intern enjoying her time in Natchez

Courtney Anderson stands on a bridge by Hidden Pond behind the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday. Anderson, a senior marine biology major at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, is participating in a 12-week internship with the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the refuge this summer. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)
Courtney Anderson stands on a bridge by Hidden Pond behind the St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge headquarters Monday. Anderson, a senior marine biology major at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, is participating in a 12-week internship with the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at the refuge this summer. (Justin Sellers \ The Natchez Democrat)

By April Garon

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Alligators, poisonous snakes, birds and other creatures surround Courtney Anderson every day at her internship at St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge.

Anderson, a Massachusetts native, said getting an internship so far from home was exciting. Anderson said she had never been to Mississippi previously and was ready to experience a new place.

“It was nice to get away from all the cold,” Anderson said. “It was in the 50s this week at home. I love the weather here.”

Anderson has only been in Natchez three weeks but said she already has gained an appreciation for Natchez.

“I really like the history here,” Anderson said. “It’s something we don’t have in my hometown.”

Anderson works in the refuge headquarters performing data entry and informing visitors about the park’s offerings. She also works on events that take place on the refuge, such as a recent summer camp.

“I worked with kids, introduced them to the refuge,” Anderson said. “We took them out on the trail and showed them local species.”

Anderson said she has gained a different perspective on Southern culture.

“A lot of the stereotypes I had coming in have not been the case,” Anderson said. “I’ve met great people.”

She is a senior marine biology student at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. Anderson said she loves to travel and studied abroad in New Zealand last year. She said the experience was fascinating.

“I think studying abroad helped me get my internship, because they saw that I was open to new experiences,” Anderson said.

While Anderson is still planning her future, she wants to have an impact on conserving animals’ environments.

“I want to help educate the public on the importance of conservation,” she said.

Anderson found the internship through the Student Conservation Association, which offers expense-paid internships in resource management and related fields countrywide.

Anderson’s internship lasts until early August.