Intern Reflection 2023 by Molly Frattasio
Growing up on the North River has been an integral part of who I am and the way in which I see the world, thus the opportunity to intern with the NSRWA has brought me closer to my roots in greater detail. One experience that did so was conducting saltmarsh surveys with high school students from the Cohasset Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR). Not only did it bolster my identification and transect skills, but to look out an expanse of what appears to simply be a unified green, then to discover that it is made up of so many different species and moving parts, is a beautiful thing that has pervaded other areas of my life. My involvement with the NSRWA has truly taught me a new way of seeing the world beneath our feet, even beyond the science.
The aspect of ecology that has always excited me the most is the implication that conservation is a people’s problem- how we must listen and respect traditional ecological knowledge and actively work with people to have any impact. Working with a small nonprofit organization and seeing first-hand the effort and dedication of those who I was able to work with, the citizen scientists, and simply locals alike, was incredible beyond anything I could have ever imagined. The meaningful and lasting connections made within the NSRWA are quite special.
My particular role this summer was in habitat ecology, which included working with invasive species management and the restoration of native species. Whether that was compiling and analyzing raw river herring and horseshoe crab data, releasing Galerucella beetles to control invasive purple loosestrife, snorkeling to survey marine invasives, or monitoring blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) in order to determine whether Fourth Cliff was a suitable enough habitat so that they would be available for the endangered red knots to eat during their migration, my projects were nothing short of engaging. I gained technical skills that I have already found myself using in my classes this semester!
However, what was particularly interesting about the internship was the way in which Patrick, Isaac and I got to work together on each other’s projects. This allowed us to collaborate, learn from one another, enjoy each other’s unique passions, and share the best laughs. A typical day never looked the same, with always something new to be discovering and aweing over.
I cannot conjure words strong enough to describe how much this experience and everyone at the NSRWA has meant to me and I am grateful to say that it has developed a lasting foundation for my future. Thank you to all!
2023 Intern Reflections by Isaac Mann
Working as the eelgrass intern has been an amazing opportunity that I wouldn’t trade for anything. The projects I have worked on have taught me an incredible amount about what field work and research entail, and have helped me grow in confidence both in my ability to carry out such work, and in the work’s capacity to do good for the world.
But before I go any further, I must admit something. When I took this job, I had no idea what eelgrass was. Nonetheless, I was put in charge of overseeing a massive survey into its local population. The task was daunting at first, but as we started coordinating things, it became apparent that given enough work, the challenge could be met. With the help of our truly amazing volunteers, we were able to complete the sampling in its entirety! It was incredibly rewarding to see such a large project come to fruition, and with any luck, the data we collected will contribute to a better understanding of this crucial species.
But, the eelgrass survey was not the only project I got to be involved with this summer, as I also assisted the other interns on their projects. Through helping Patrick with the Headwaters and RiverWatch sampling, and Molly with the Marine Invasive Survey and Blue Mussel Monitoring, I was given more insight into the world around me. I have lived on the South Shore my whole life, but it was not until helping with these projects that I realized just how many beautiful places and how much biodiversity there is in the region. It helped me see the place I have grown up in through a whole new lens.
So, thank you to Dr. Grady and Samantha Woods for giving me this opportunity. Thank you to the amazing volunteers who sacrificed their time to assist with the eelgrass research. Thank you to Molly and Patrick, for being amazing friends to learn alongside and from. And thank you to everyone involved with the NSRWA, what a summer it has been!
2023 Intern Reflections by Patrick Scott
Working for the NSRWA this summer has been one of the most unique experiences of my life. I felt like I was able to experience environmental science outside the confines of a classroom. I was able to hone my skills in research and data analysis, while learning about new processes like how to test water for coliform and other bacteria. One struggle of university is wondering if you will be able to put your knowledge to use in the real world or even enjoy your future work. The NSRWA helped me to realize what I will need in the future and what to look forward to.
Everyone has been incredibly kind and inviting since the beginning, which allowed me to comfortably learn and pursue new ideas. I was always treated like I had been a long-standing staff member and everyone cared about who I was and what I wanted to do. I feel like the work I’ve accomplished this summer has allowed me to be more prepared for my future than I thought possible and has given me an opportunity to see what work inside this field entails.
I was assigned the lead for the Headwaters project where we would travel to different sites around the South Shore and collect water samples. These were some of my favorite days as I was able to be out in the field and in the lab. We would then take the samples for testing. After determining the E.coli concentrations I was then tasked with finding potential sources of pollution. This was another part of the work I really enjoyed as being a detective of sorts made me feel like the data I was collecting had a purpose and could lead to a cleaner environment.
The educational opportunities presented by the NSRWA have allowed me to learn so much about the work that I want to do in the future as well as preparing me for it. I’ve gained so much knowledge on how to identify different species and how to deal with those that are invasive. This summer, we’ve established multiple populations of Galerucella beetles which only eat the invasive Purple Loosestrife plant. They act as a form of biological control for this problem and seeing this in action has been one of the most fascinating aspects of the summer.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity of working for the NSRWA this summer and am so grateful for the work I was able to do.
Reflections on Past Internships
2022 Intern Reflections by Grace Berthiaume
Taylor Czybora 2022 Intern Reflections
2022 Intern Reflections By Bryce Lacombe
Intern Reflections By Lee
2021 Intern Reflections By Olivia Freud
Reflections on My Summer with NSRWA by Drew Martin
Reflections by Andrew Staley, 2018 Summer Intern
2017 Summer Interns Provide Invaluable Help to NSRWA
Meet Our Winter Intern Tess Walter
Summer Interns Provide Invaluable Resources to NSRWA
Nicole Gallup’s Internship Overview
Natalie Pitman Internship Overview
“My internship taught me that a huge part working in the environmental field is talking to people, making connections and educating the public… I couldn’t think of a better way of spending my summer this year. I am so thankful for getting these real-world experiences and gaining so much knowledge along the way.” ~ Kate McCarthy, NSRWA intern