Reflections from a Summer in the EcoCenter

By Gadi Cohen

It’s difficult not to come face-to-face with nature when you work in the EcoCenter. I’ll never forget that one Thursday afternoon when, stepping out of the front door, I found myself locking eyes with a Red-tailed Hawk. Though I had distracted it momentarily from its lunch of fresh squirrel, the predator bird quickly returned to a thorough investigation of its meal, its victim’s entrails hanging precariously from its beak.

As fascinating as my encounter with the hawk was, daily life at the EcoCenter has been much less gruesome – fortunately. Walking out onto the front deck, I always find myself in a different, more serene world, a wonderful landscape of mesmerizing blue skies, dawdling tides, and fields of pickleweed blowing easily in the breeze. Inside the EcoCenter, the windows ringing around the walls immerse me in sunlight, and the open balcony door brings the sweet-salty scent of the Baylands drifting to my desk. It is the kind of environment I could’ve only dreamed of. Working at the EcoCenter has given me a glimpse of the potential for a symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment – a relationship that, like my experience working here, is the stuff of dreams.

These little details that make the EcoCenter what it is have helped me feel truly at home. By now, I am familiar with what makes this place tick: the vibrant energy of the people, the effervescent enthusiasm they feel for their work, their passionate dedication to the community – these values, so mainstream within the walls of the EcoCenter, have all taught me how an organization should function. In my attempt to understand the inner workings of a nonprofit, I have learned that all of these come together to create something special – the unique EV “brand.”

As the Communications and Development Intern at the EV, I have learned what it takes to maintain a brand like the EV’s. At the EV, I have practiced writing, editing and designing posters and monthly newsletters; reaching out to the community with information about events and programs; drafting press releases; and much, much more. I have learned that, in order to reflect outward the level of professionalism and dedication that the EV follows from within, each task must be completed thoroughly, flawlessly, and passionately.

In the EcoCenter, there is a certain irreplaceable harmony between the outside and the inside. While researching fennel for a “Fun Facts” article for the newsletter, I could smell the intoxicating licorice fumes of the plants wafting in from the Baylands; posting an item for an upcoming presentation on seagulls, I could hear the birds cawing as they flew overhead right outside the door. From our perch on the balcony where we work, we can hear children playing and learning downstairs. I am going to miss it all. Thank you, EV, for an incredible and edifying summer.