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Natalie Pitman Internship

2015 Intern removing invasive Japanese Knot Weed
2015 Intern removing invasive Japanese Knot Weed

After spending a little over two months at the office, it is hard to believe that my time as an intern at the North and South River Watershed Association has come to an end. I have had the wonderful opportunity of working alongside Dr. Sara Grady, as well as my fellow interns Olivia and Nicole.

My summer started off with a delivery of Galerucella beetles that would be released to eat the plant invasive purple loosestrife in Mill Pond Wetland. We started the project by dividing up the beetles and put them in 20 enclosures which would require a lot of love and care over the next weeks. With the beetles happily eating the loosestrife we were growing, we then turned our attention towards horseshoe crabs, which we counted during the high tides: rain or shine, day or night.

Over the project, we tagged 250 horseshoe crabs in the Duxbury Bay, and informed the public about what to do if they were to see one. This was probably my favorite project this summer, as not only did we get to spend a day at the beach catching these dinosaur-like creatures, we also had a few brave children come up to us and ask what we were doing. We explained why these creatures were important and what they could do to help as we turned one of the crabs upside-down to allow them to see all their legs.

Each day of my internship offered new experiences: Nicole and I would go out and monitor invasive marine species one day, the next day we would work with the YMCA and the River Adventure Camp, or go snorkeling for mussels on the docks of the North River, or clear out the invasive Japanese knotweed. Every day was a surprise, but it led to a fun and informative summer.

All of these experiences have influenced me and changed who I am today. I feel as though I am more prepared to enter the world wanting to study science. I understand how difficult it is to have everyone on board with one idea, especially when it involves change. I have experienced field science, which can result in lost materials, sunburns, leeches attaching to myself, and so many unexpected turns. On a personal note, I’ve gained an awareness that I haven’t had before. For example,  I now notice the invasive plants that are all around the roadsides. Similarly, when it rains, I think that it would be a great day to conduct water sampling.

This summer, I have been part of an incredibly dynamic team that has been so wonderful to work with. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to be an intern at the North and South Rivers Watershed, not only to gain experience and grow personally, but to meet everyone in the office, as well as Olivia and Nicole. It has been a pleasure and honor to work alongside everyone, and I know that this isn’t a goodbye, and I can’t wait until I’m back at the office or on the rivers.