Dario Pedrajo is studying at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, with a dual major in economics and environmental studies. Growing up in Miami, Dario visited Everglades National Park (ENP) many times, but now he has a deeper understanding of this complex and fragile ecosystem through the National Park Academy and the Student Conservation Association partnership.
As an intern, Dario is involved in ENP’s day-to-day operations, and sees first-hand how the park is managed to protect the natural environment while encouraging public use. “I didn’t have much experience with public speaking before this, and was close to shock when forty people were waiting for one of my first interpretive talks,” remembers Dario. After several occasions to practice and enhance his tour, Dario’s fear evaporates when he shares his knowledge of, and passion for, this amazing ecosystem. “I may not be able to answer every question, but I am able to engage the interest of park visitors in how important their support is to the future of ENP and other natural areas.”
When telling his South Florida friends where he works, Dario is dismayed when they do not show much enthusiasm to visit. However, Dario knows it is somewhat uncomfortable with summer heat, humidity and bugs. “But summer in the Everglades is unique and awe-inspiring,” exclaims Dario. When not at the Visitor Center greeting guests, or answering phone calls at the Reception counter, Dario can be found on the trails trying to outpace a growing cloud of mosquitoes, or on his motorcycle trying to avoid collisions with swarms of dragonflies.