Olivia Brown, an animal sciences undergraduate student in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), spent the spring semester on an internship with Glen Dene Hunting and Fishing. Based in Lake Hawea, New Zealand, Glen Dene Hunting and Fishing is a guide service that attracts customers from all over the world.
Brown’s responsibilities focused on taxidermy work, including tasks such as skinning, tanning and mounting. Brown stated that she obtained several skills from performing these duties.
“In doing this, I learned many technical skills such as strong hand-eye coordination, extended concentration and sound knowledge of animal anatomy,” said Brown.
Although taxidermy was where Brown spent a majority of her time, she also rotated through the company’s other departments. These included the office, hospitality and agriculture sectors. During her brief time in the office, Brown helped reach out to potential clients.
” Through this, I gained a greater understanding of marketing strategies and professional communication skills,” said Brown.
On Fridays, Brown would aid in hosting the weekly send-off party for guests. She was able to meet the clients whose taxidermy work she performed earlier in the week. Brown was also able to network with professionals from around the world.
Glen Dene features a diversified livestock portfolio and a forage program. As an animal sciences student, Brown found her time in the company’s agriculture sector to be a highlight. Brown assisted with routine care of the operation’s cattle, sheep and deer.
“I was given the opportunity to assist with vaccinations, deworming, herding and culling of each species which greatly improved my animal husbandry skills,” stated Brown.
As a reward for interns and other employees, Glen Dene allows their staff to participate in guided hunts on the property. Brown harvested a red stag, the operation’s star game animal, with the skills she obtained during her internship. This was a first for Brown, as she had never experienced this before her internship.
“I strongly believe that everyone should have an understanding of where their food comes from and respect the farmers as well as the animals involved,” said Brown.
As a recipient of VP Promise funding through the Beyond the Classroom Scholarship, Brown was able to offset some costs of the internship. This experience enabled her to learn about the hunting and guiding industries and grow her network on a global scale. She stated that this experience was a vital part of her undergraduate program.
“Being given the opportunity to travel across the world to live in New Zealand for three months was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had, and it opened my eyes to the vast career possibilities all over the world,” said Brown.
The VP Promise is an initiative to provide financial assistance for students pursuing experiences in agriculture, life sciences and natural resources. CALS supports student success both inside and outside of the classroom and encourages students to broaden their perspectives through enriching opportunities such as study abroad programs and travel to conferences. For more information on the VP Promise visit the CALS website.