Sustainability and the Environment Internship: Ecotourism Marketing for the Children’s Eternal Rainforest, by Kaylee Grunseth, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
For the month of March, I had an internship as part of the CIEE study abroad Sustainability and the Environment program in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I chose to work with the Children’s Eternal Rainforest or El Bosque Eterno de los Niños (BEN) as their ecotourism marketing intern. My intentions with the internship were to increase online visitation and to raise awareness of the reserve through social media including blog posts and photographs with captions for Facebook and Instagram. This would hopefully increase people’s desire to visit the BEN or donate, which would then contribute to their conservation efforts. The Monteverde Conservation League’s (MCL), the non-profit organization that owns the BEN, mission is “to conserve, preserve, and rehabilitate tropical ecosystems and their biodiversity.”
I was drawn to this internship because it dealt with social media and I have a lot of experience with this from my student groups and for the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I believe that some people can look at social media as a waste of time, but for others it can boost the knowledge of or interaction with a business or organization when used appropriately. I am also very interested in working for a non-profit related to sustainability or environmental efforts after I graduate college and wanted to get a taste of what it would be like.
I have gained a lot of communication skills from this internship. I had to specifically take into consideration the rhetoric I was using for the blog posts and captions for the photos. I was able to appeal to the desired audience, which was essentially everyone in the world that can access the Internet, but especially those who are environmentally conscious and willing to learn more about conservation. I also improved on my Spanish speaking, listening, and writing skills. For three of the blogs I conducted three different interviews with employees of the BEN in Spanish. I listened to the interviewee during the interview and many times after by listening to the recordings. I then took this information and wrote three separate blog posts in Spanish.
I was able to provide the organization with five informative, engaging, and entertaining blog posts that will enhance their website and inform readers about content that they wouldn’t have learned without the blog posts, especially the one about poaching. The poaching habits that happen in the BEN are not widely known, especially on the Internet, but I have now provided a way for someone to educate themselves about this issue. I have provided the BEN with content for their first Facebook album solely dedicated to documenting the internships at the reserve. I documented another CIEE student, Rose, during her internship teaching environmental art related to the BEN to a local school’s 7th grade class. This can be used a template to future interns and can become a continuous feature that people look forward to seeing more of.
Writing the biodiversity blog