Published on July 11, 2019

Get to Know Pleasant Valley's Summer Interns

We are thrilled to have an enthusiastic team of interns here in the Berkshires this summer!

Our intern program has increased tremendously since it first started in 2015. This program supports the growth and development of young people interested in the environmental field by allowing them to gain practical experience in the areas of wildlife and plant conservation, land management and stewardship, or environmental education.

Interns are a huge asset to our team, allowing us expand program outreach, increase our conservation and wildlife monitoring efforts, and improve the ways we utilize our properties. Please welcome this year's crew!

Laura Evans (Intern Coordinator)

Walworth, NY

Laura Evans PV summer intern coordinator

→ Hobart & William Smith Colleges, BS in Environmental Science & Biology
→ Maria College, AAS Occupational Therapy Assistant

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? My parents took me camping before I could walk. I developed a great appreciation of the outdoors by hiking and spending time outside as a child. 
Coolest nature experience? Traveling around the Great Barrier Reef scuba diving and conducting coral research. Banding red-tailed hawks, and pelicans. Releasing newly hatched green and loggerhead sea turtles.
Previous career experience? Worked in wildlife research (avian, marine mammal, and sea turtle) and in conversation education for agencies including US Fish and Wildlife Service, USGS, NPS, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, UC Berkeley, and the Smithsonian. 
Why do you enjoy working for this program? I enjoy working for an organization whose mission aligns with my values. I love the opportunity to meet, teach, and guide students on their path to becoming future scientists and bright minds in the conservation field.

Jordan Budaj

Jordan Budaj PV summer intern

Windsor, MA 

UMass Amherst  Natural Resource Conservation

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? Having grown up spending a lot of time in the outdoors I just wanted to know more about the species that live there and how to help protect them and the habitats they are in.
Coolest nature experience? A few years ago a bear broke into our house through the back door and ate all our bread. Thankfully, no one was home at the time!
What do you hope to get out of this internship? I really want to gain some hands on experience working out in the field and to become, in general, more knowledge about the species living there.
Dream Job: Wildlife Biologist

Maggie Clark

Maggie Clark PV summer intern

Newfane, VT

Antioch University New England  Environmental Science & Conservation Biology

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? Through farming, care-taking and land management
Coolest nature experience? I've seen lots of cool animals, but I'll never forget running full speed to catch a bus through the forest in Patagonia with multiple Magellanic woodpeckers calling above. I stopped for a second to get a good look at them and we barely made the bus.
What do you hope to get out of this internship? Field experience and a relationship with an esteemed organization.
Dream Job: 40 hours a week with healthcare

Molly McCutcheon

Molly McCutcheon PV summer intern

Northampton, MA

Stonehill College  Biology

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? As a kid I spent a lot of time and was always really curious about the world around me.
Coolest nature experience? A bear walked around the building getting within a few feet of the window.
What do you hope to get out of this internship? I want to see if this is something I'd like to do as a career.
Dream Job: TBD

Griffin McLaughlin

Griffin McLaughlin PV summer intern

Norton, MA

University of New Hampshire  Forestry

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? I was a psychology major in my first year in college and took a sustainability class as an elective that ignited a passion to preserve the outdoors for future generations.
Coolest nature experience? Hiking the Alps in Switzerland!
What do you hope to get out of this internship? I hope to take what I am currently learning in my academics and apply it effectively for field research and experience. 
Dream Job: Working for the US Forest Service.

Dylan O'Malley

Dylan O'Malley PV summer intern

Housatonic, MA

SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry  Conservation Biology

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? I was interested in the natural world from a young age, and as I grew older I sought to preserve it.
Coolest nature experience? Witnessing a golden eagle flying low directly overhead to force a smaller bald eagle from its nearby perch
What do you hope to get out of this internship? I hope to gain college credit as well as valuable experience in the field I am pursuing, especially as I am considering education.
Dream Job: Working to conserve the vital habitats on the West Coast

Ava Zigmand

Ava Zigmand PV summer intern

Great Barrington, MA

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts • Environmental Studies & Biology

How did you become interested in plant & wildlife conservation? Through an Environmental Systems and Societies class in high school and my college courses
Coolest nature experience? Banding and handling birds that I wouldn’t normally come into contact with
What do you hope to get out of this internship? Experience
Dream Job: Naturalist working in wildlife conservation in the tropics