Each year in January, we open the search for candidates for our Fred E. Ellis Summer Internship program. Little did we know as we began this year’s selection process that, as the spring months progressed, more than half the nation’s summer internship opportunities would be canceled due to the pandemic. Our two selected interns remained steadfast in their desire to work with us as we researched and deliberated about how to chart a safe path forward. They agreed to adhere to our newly crafted Infectious Disease Control Policy, along with extra safety requirements specific to their positions. At long lastwe are excited to announce that our 2020 Fred E. Ellis Internship is underway! 

Early in the year, we foresaw an emerging need to expand our capacity for visual storytelling, as well as to create virtual ways of fulfilling our mission to connect people to nature, to each other, and to the Preservation Trust. While sorting through a long list of qualified intern candidates, we found two talented students of film and environmental studies: Emma Jacobs and Georgia Drost. On July 17 we welcomed them both to the Ellis Preserve on Shaw Island, where we are providing them with housing. Prior to their arrival, they completed a COVID-19 screening and agreed to quarantine for their first two weeks on Shaw. Although they are currently “stuck” on the 344-acre Ellis Preserve, they are cheerfully completing stewardship projects, filming videos, and photographing historical artifacts inside the Tharald Homestead. They are savoring this special opportunity and are enchanted by our unique island preserve.

Emma Jacobs is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado where she is majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Film Production. She received an Achievement in Filmmaking from the Department of Cinema Studies and Moving Image Arts in the Spring of 2019. She is equally as passionate about capturing the natural environment in an artistic way as she is about getting her hands dirty in the name of environmental conservation.

“When I am surrounded by towering forests of flourishing pines and flowing seas of verdant grass, I feel most at peace. […] I want to help protect that feeling for future generations.”

Georgia Drost is studying at Columbia College Chicago and majoring in Cinema and Television Arts with a Cinematography focus, minoring in Environmental Studies and Photography. She is a TA and Technician at the school’s Camera Equipment Lab where she assists other students as they learn to use high level cameras while maintaining, repairing, and organizing their inventory.

“Nature documentaries have been a staple of my life since childhood and they’ve instilled in me a deep passion for the environment, its protection, and the need for greater awareness when it comes to preservation.”

We are excited for the youthful, creative energy these two are already adding to our team. We look forward to capturing inspiring and educational film to share with our members, our island community, and beyond!