Summer Internship Series: Surfing through Five Rivers Metro Parks

Will Shepard ’20

Five Rivers Metro Parks, Dayton, Ohio

My name is Will Shepard. I’m from Thetford Vermont which is a tiny little town about twenty minute drive away from Dartmouth college. I am 21 years old and a sophomore here at Denison studying Political Science. I took a gap year last school year and went to New Zealand and had an absolute blast. On my return I got an internship with Five Rivers Metro Parks in Dayton Ohio, made possible through a stipend with Denison. I appreciated my internship a ton, and even though I know now that working in a public park is not what I want to do after college, I think that it has inspired me to pursue something in the government sector.

I achieved a decently significant amount during my internship, I was able to help set up and organize a website that detailed every single trail in the fifteen parks that Five Rivers runs. This project was probably my favorite thing to do because it required me to work with my officemates on how best to showcase the park. I had to detail every trail and write up how they should best be used, the attractions they provided, and when was the opportune time to visit that park and those trails. I had a lot of fun doing that project. I also worked on setting up the annual Bike to Work Day, which involved getting vendors and local businesses to come and sponsor the event. That was a lot of work, but well worth it as the event was incredibly successful.

I think that this internship provided me with a lot of knowledge. That knowledge comes in a variety of ways. I think that I am much better equipped to deal with communicating effectively in the office space as well as being able to effectively communicate with other, outside businesses. I was able to gain the confidence to suggest that they get the University of Dayton more involved with the park by offering programs that the university students could participate in and even get community service hours for completing.

I expected a little bit more work on environmental stewardship work, but was happily surprised when that was actually translated into getting the locals to be more involved in the park system. I was really happy working for them during the six weeks. Although I would not do it again because I know that that isn’t where I want to be post college, I am incredibly grateful to Denison for receiving the stipend to make it all possible.