05 October 2022

The Start of a Great Opportunity!

Written by: David Portilla

     On August 16th I began my position as a HAF Advanced Fellow with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters Office. I am working at the division of Visitor Services as part of the Connected Communities Team. This job is my first remote position as my experience has been in the field for the past several years. Initially, I felt nervous, and set up my last-minute work from home office (pictured) and read up on lots of policies surrounding the work that I would be doing.

     Thankfully, with the support of HAF and my supervisor being understanding, helpful, patient, and knowledgeable, I have already come to feel confident and comfortable in my position. Already, this position has been an incredible networking experience for me and I’ve made connections across the country and service. During my short time in this position, I’ve learned what working at the headquarters of the USFWS is like in the different divisions of the service, and a bit about how policy is implemented into actionable items. I’ve found that this position is what you make it and that HAF/ USFWS are more than willing to allow me to explore career paths, join in on various projects and attend conferences and seminars that allow me to grow as a conservation professional.

     Looking forward I feel confident that this will open permanent doors for me, and already I’m working on Urban Wildlife Summits/ Projects, a partner organization Restore America’s Estuaries, and with the national youth/friends coordinators. Along the way, I’ve tried to make a good impression on everyone I meet and even had the chance to go to D.C. and meet the rest of the team in person, which I believe has led to stronger connections and cohesion as a group. I am really excited about my position and will be sure to continue to make the most of my partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife through HAF. 

Agency: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Location: Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, Washington Office

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