Supporting veterans is a societal responsibility that goes beyond just recognizing service—it requires action. And for our agency, supporting veterans is imperative. Our NOAA veteran and conservation corps are creating a community of habitat restoration practitioners across the nation made up of veterans, young adults, and others. The programs are boosting coastal communities by recruiting, training, mentoring, and employing workers to implement habitat restoration projects in support of long-term coastal restoration.
On this episode, we're highlighting NOAA VetCorps, a program giving veterans the training and tools to follow a career path in habitat conservation and restoration. VetCorps began in California and has since expanded up the coast to Oregon, Washington, and recently Alaska. Interns for the program gain hands-on experience in fieldwork and natural resource management while building partnerships with local restoration practitioners.
Laurel Jennings is a marine habitat resource specialist with the NOAA Restoration Center, a former NOAA Corps officer, and a VetCorps program mentor. Garret Engelke is a veteran intern working as a Restoration Center salmon recovery specialist. They discuss their backgrounds, what led them to NOAA VetCorps, and the work they do as a mentor and participant in the program. As an intern, Garrett has had the opportunity to work on reviewing salmon habitat restoration and fish passage projects, Endangered Species Act consultations, and monitoring juvenile salmon throughout Puget Sound. He's also worked extensively with tribal entities and youth groups on fish passage and habitat recovery projects. NOAA VetCorps interns are leaders who carry a conservation ethic and promote the recovery of species and their habitats.
Are you a veteran with a passion for conservation? Consider applying to one of our open veteran internship positions!