2021 Intern Grant Recipient: Jane Pollack

This column shines a light on rising leaders in public lands and outdoor recreation who participate in PNTS’ Trail Intern Grants or Trail Apprentices Program (TAP). Trail Intern Grants help organizations hire interns to further their missions and expand their capacities. The TAP helps up-and-coming and aspiring outdoor professionals aged 18-28 network and discover pathways to careers in trails or similar fields.

Image of Jane Pollack on the Florida National Scenic Trail in Big Cypress National Park

“I wasn’t aware that working in the trails community was an option,” said Jane Pollack, who is now the Communications and Outreach Manager for the Florida Trail Association (FTA). “My view of working in the outdoors industry was limited. I thought I needed to do research, obtain a degree in a field I wasn’t encouraged to pursue, or work as a forest ranger. I was delighted when I realized that my skill set was needed in the trails community as well.” 

Jane’s transition into the trails world came after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on postcolonial studies from the University of Florida. Her professional career began in publishing, but, as she nourished a deeper connection with Florida’s dynamic natural environment, she sought to pair her passion for the outdoors with her career path. 

When the FTA posted their Gateway Communities Coordinator position, an internship funded by PNTS’s Intern Grants, Jane knew she had to apply. “I viewed the internship with the FTA as the perfect intersection of my personal passions and my professional ambitions,” she explained. Serendipitously, she was thru-hiking the Trail when she discovered and applied for the job.  

After almost a year as Gateway Communities Coordinator, Jane successfully applied for and transitioned into her current role with FTA. She indebts her current success to the skills and relationships she built during the internship. 

Looking forward, Jane hopes “to inspire people to take ownership of their community and get involved with the trail.” She approaches her career in trails as an educator who is responsible for fostering stewardship and leadership in others, building meaningful connections, and creating a welcoming environment for all. 

Although Jane did not set out to have a career in trails when she began college or her professional career, her unique skillset is now an integral part of the FTA team.