Shield Ranch Welcomes 2023 Summer Interns  

Ira Benson and Charles T. Poland, Shield Land Stewardship Group Summer 2023 natural resource management interns.
From left to right: Ira Benson, Shield Ranch Barton Creek intern; and Charles T. Pouland, Shield Ranch Camp Wood intern.

Ira Benson and Charles T. Pouland have been selected as the Shield Land Stewardship Group’s summer 2023 interns. The internship provides relevant experience and practical application in wildlife and natural resource management. 

Ira Benson, a native of San Marcos, Texas, is the intern for Shield Ranch Barton Creek. He graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition science and plans to pursue an advanced degree in wildlife or plant ecology focusing on semi-arid and arid bioregions.   

He first became interested in agroecology during his studies at UT Austin, which steered him toward a career in natural resource management and conservation. Ira says he was drawn to the internship opportunity to learn more about research-based land management practices. Additionally, he says he appreciates Shield Ranch’s initiative of connecting youth with the outdoors through Camp El Ranchito.  

“Everyone should have the chance to develop a profound connection with nature,” says Ira Benson, as he reflects upon his own joy experienced through exposure to the natural world from an early age.  

Charles T. Pouland, a native of Dripping Springs, Texas, is the intern at Shield Ranch Camp Wood. He is a sophomore at Southwest Texas College in Uvalde, Texas, pursuing his associate degree in wildlife management. Upon graduation, he plans to attend Texas Tech University to major in wildlife biology, with an emphasis on cattle, rangelands, and crop and soil sciences.  

He has long-term aspirations to be a private land consultant with a focus on habitat restoration through native rangeland planting. In addition, he would like to run his own cattle and carbon capture rangelands operation, specifically concentrating on wildlife habitat.  

Charles says he was drawn to Shield Ranch due to its level of stewardship, conservation, and education and he admires how the Ranch opens its gates for people to learn techniques for managing our state’s wildlands.  

One of his favorite motivational quotes is “Stewardship takes stewards.”