Kimi Birrer recently joined the JN team “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, with funding from the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge. She serves as a bilingual educator and interpreter for the Wildlife on Wheels mobile class and other educational refuge programs.
Born in northern Kentucky, Birrer graduated from Hanover College in Indiana in May, majoring in environmental biology and Spanish. This summer, she did fieldwork in Wisconsin and worked on a Kentucky horse farm before arriving recently at the Sanibel shelter.
“Kimi is fluent in Spanish, so she will be a valuable asset in helping us fulfill our mission of reaching out to the local Latino community”, said Melissa Maher, urban shelter education leader. “Our first priority with WoW is to go to underserved schools and other places where children and adults do not have the opportunity to visit the shelter.”
“I have been a serious student of Spanish since entering college and have volunteered with a local non-profit organization at my school that helps immigrants in a number of ways, mainly by learning English and civic education. “ said Birrer. “I also spent a year abroad in Costa Rica, where I worked with biologists on various projects. I really like learning a language so I can communicate with more people. I look forward to being able to combine my passions for conservation, intercultural understanding and learning.
Passionate about ornithology and traveler, she strongly anticipates spending the winter season in Sanibel.
“I am delighted to inspire others to be passionate about the things that matter to me and to everyone here at the shelter,” said Birrer.
DDWS provides living allowances and other benefits to more than a dozen interns each year. For more information, contact DDWS Associate Director Lynnae Messina at 239-472-1100 ext. 233.
DDWS is currently running two nominated internships for the year 2020-21 and is accepting donations for three future nominated intern funds at $ 12,500 per year, which represents the cost to support an intern, including stipends, travel, tolls, Sanibel Recreation Center membership and other expenses.