New wildlife policy intern joins TWS operations

The Wildlife Society’s Government Affairs program welcomes its spring 2022 Joe Burns Memorial Wildlife Policy Intern, Cassie Ferri, to the team at TWS’ headquarters.

Ferri is a western Massachusetts native and currently attends the University of Maine, where she will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and a concentration in wildlife science and management this May. Throughout her time as an undergraduate student, she has served as secretary, vice president and president of the University of Maine’s Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and is active in both undergraduate field research and mentoring first-year wildlife students. Her goal after graduation is to attend graduate school and receive a master’s in environmental science and policy as well as travel and observe the world’s biodiversity.

Ferri holds a juvenile saltmarsh sparrow in New Jersey, where she completed her undergraduate research in 2021. Credit: Cassie Ferri.

Ferri has a wide range of professional interests, including the impact of climate and land-use change on avian life, human dimensions of wildlife, public engagement and the implementation of wildlife law. She is passionate about amplifying the voices of diverse groups of people and helping break down barriers to entry in the wildlife profession. The main focus of her undergraduate research under the Saltmarsh Habitat & Avian Research Program was on seaside (Ammodramus maritimus) and saltmarsh (Ammodramus caudacutus) sparrows, but she has also worked with Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and native amphibian species. In her free time, Ferri loves birding, weightlifting, reading, writing poetry and playing Animal Crossing.

During her six-month internship, Ferri will help track policies that impact wildlife and wildlife professionals, enhance TWS policy resources, and engage in coalition meetings, legislative hearings and agency briefings. She is excited to extend her work with TWS beyond her student chapter and learn more about government processes and relations.

The Joe Burns Memorial Wildlife Policy Internship helps advance TWS policy priorities and provides professional experience to students and recent graduates looking to expand their network and expertise. The program is named in honor of one of TWS’ first policy interns, Joe Burns. Burns devoted his career to federal service, and spent over 20 years working on behalf of conservation programming within the U.S. Forest Service. Visit to learn more about the program and current offerings.

Header Image: Ferri studied seaside and saltmarsh sparrows on a saltmarsh in New Jersey in Spring 2021. Credit: Cassie Ferri.