By Matthew Jones As the son of two teachers, my childhood was a bit different than most. My parents had every summer off and each summer brought a new vacation spot for our family to explore. From Mount Rushmore to Mount Saint Helens, we visited some of the most pristine natural areas in the country. Looking back now, these times were rewarding for me because they gave me valuable time with my family and increased my exposure to the natural environment. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. After I accepted the intern position at the EV, I learned just how lucky I was to be able to enjoy these experiences growing up. While researching studies for grant applications, I found out that many children have very limited exposure to nature with their parents. One survey indicated that 43% of kids want their parents to spend more time with them outdoors. The programs offered by the EV provide children with outdoor experiences that they otherwise might not have. Being able to work with an organization that provides children with these invaluable experiences is incredibly empowering and reinforces why the EV was such a great fit for me. One of the biggest highlights was working at the EcoCenter grand opening. I couldn’t believe the amount of work that went into this event and how many amazing people contributed. While administering surveys at the event, I got a chance to speak to a range of people, including volunteers, board members, donors, and members of the community who had followed the project for years. It was incredibly inspirational to see the joint effort put in by so many passionate people working towards a common goal. The invaluable skills I have learned from working for the EV will certainly help me with my career. I am so grateful to have worked under the incredible leadership of Allan and the exceptional staff. I will definitely miss working here! Matthew Jones served as the Communications and Development Intern in Summer 2012.