One of the Intern Program’s biggest events of the year is our annual trip to Pepperwood; that is used not only to build bonds of friendship and teamwork between the newly hired interns and the veterans of the program but also to reinforce the camaraderie that the program shares as a whole. This year’s trip took place from June 18th through the 20nd and was the first big trip for the 6 new interns hired this year.
At Pepperwood there is never a dull moment. Whether we are kicking around a soccer ball, going on a hike to a vernal pool, or engaging in one of the many energetic group building activities planned for the trip, everyone enjoys their time there. The numerous events that populated our trip were not only fun but also educational, teaching us how to work with each other outside of work but also in simulated work environments.
At the California Academy of Sciences, we strive to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, often times trying to leave any place we use in a better condition than how we found it. We attempt to accomplish this at Pepperwood by working on a restoration project to renovate the surrounding landscape. This year’s project involved collecting native grass seeds and eliminating seed heads of an invasive species. This helps to preserve not only any native species that are endemic to that area but also the many animals that rely on that specific plant directly or indirectly.
On our last night we were treated to a private showing at the Hume Observatory at Pepperwood. Above all, this was the most spectacular event of the whole trip. Far away from the soft glow of San Francisco, we were able to see many stars, planets, and objects in the night sky we had never observed before.
After our long ride back to the Academy, everyone was glad to be home, but the exciting time we had at Pepperwood is something we look back on even now as a defining event in our intern career. Hopefully next year’s trip can live up to the expectations that have been made by this year’s. All we can do is wait expectantly for the new batch of interns to be selected.