You find yourself in an unfamiliar road sometimes, but each road you go down teaches you a different lesson. My summer at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was one of the best summers I’ve had.

“We all have stories to tell, stories that provide wisdom about the journey of life. What more have we give one another than our truth about human adventure as honestly and as openly as we know how?” (Roubi Saul Rubbin)

My name is Shevika Bonita Mitchell. I believe that life is a journey and that journey can be whatever you make it, but sometimes that journey doesn’t consist of everything you plan for. You find yourself in an unfamiliar road sometimes, but each road you go down teaches you a different lesson. My summer at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was one of the best summers I’ve had.

At the National Conservation Training Center, I got the opportunity to listen to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) employees share their stories from where they started out from to where they have ended up today. They shared their journey with us and the one thing that I got from each of their stories was inspiration. Inspiration to change the world, share my knowledge with others, and most of all they showed me the importance of following your dreams and being happy with your career. The passion that each USFWS and Student Conservation Association (SCA) employee had for their career inspired me to find my passion in life.

One of my favorite things that I got to do this summer was work with the Children in the Woods Day Camp. It gave me an opportunity to pass on my knowledge about fish, wildlife, habitats, and the history of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). Working at the beach and helping out with beach campfires was lots of fun. It gave me the opportunity to experience a collaborated program with the USFWS and the National Park Service. I learned about many of the night animals, such as owls, comb jellies, croquets, mosquitoes, and frogs. I also learned all their sounds and why they are important to our environment, and why they have certain habitats, and why they are night animals.

Pony penning week was one of the biggest weeks that visitors looked forward to during the summer at Chincoteague NWR. Pony penning week gave me the opportunity to learn more about the wild ponies. I also got the opportunity to share my knowledge with many visitors.

This summer has been a life-changing beautiful journey. When I look back on the path I’ve walked, I see success, and it is fulfilling to know that I left my footprints in the sand. All I want and ever wanted in this world is to share my dreams, my passions, and my visions with the world, and leave my mark in each person’s life by giving each a piece of my heart in hopes that they will walk away with happiness, love, and positivity, in hopes of doing good to change someone else’s life. My journey at Chincoteague NWR granted me that.