Summer Internship Program: Wise County


Primary Program Area Focus:  ANR

1. Describe your plans for this internship.  (i.e. What specifically will the intern be doing?)

The intern will be conducting educational programming relevant to the county ANR, FCS and 4-H Programs.  Approximately 50 percent of the intern’s time will be dedicated to the ANR program. Examples of ANR activities will include conducting horticultural site visits and workshops for vegetable growers in the Grow Wise Program, planning and conducting educational sessions for Master Gardeners, Virginia Master Naturalists and the general public and collecting hay samples for the Wise County Hay Contest.  He/she may also assist with citizen science, environmental education and/or stewardship activities of Virginia Master Naturalist volunteers. These activities could include butterfly, bird or mason bee counts, trail maintenance or natural resource-related presentations.  (In the event of pandemic-related restrictions, virtual lesson/activity equivilants will be coordinated on Zoom and/or Facebook live or via the development of YouTube videos.)

The intern will also assist with 4-H summer day camps and will spend at least one full day helping at the Wise County Junior 4-H Camp, if this event is able to proceed due to COVID-19.

Because a regular Extension presence at local farmers’ markets during the summer, the intern will have a table at the Norton Farmers’ Market (and possibly the markets in Big Stone Gap, Pound or St. Paul) periodically, distributing agent-approved information on food safety, cooking, fitness, gardening, entomology or other topics as needed.     

2. Describe the knowledge / skills you expect the intern to gain from this experience.

The intern will gain experience with Virginia Tech lab procedures (collecting and submitting soil, weed, insect and disease samples and interpreting the results).  He/she will gain knowledge related to home horticulture, nutrition, native plants, volunteer administration, food safety, food preservation, forages and beekeeping, among other topics that may arise based on local need.  He/she will gain experience in researching, organizing and presenting an educational workshop to both youth and adult audiences. Finally, he/she will become more familiar with the facets of master volunteer programs, from recruitment to recognition.

3. How will the intern learn about the breadth of VCE and our various program areas?

The goal is to ensure that the intern works with all program areas during his/her ten weeks, so time will be spent with ANR, 4-H and FCS personnel in any given week.  In the event that our vacant FCS agent position isn’t filled by this summer, opportunities for FCS interactions outside the county will be sought.