Our summer interns have been providing invaluable assistance to the NSRWA team this summer, in everything from scientific research to database management. They have had a variety of environmental science experiences including teaching the tidepooling portion of our Estuary Explorers trips, Riverwatch water sampling and shellfish surveys. Here are some reflections by our interns Kate McCarthy and Kelly Miller:
Kate McCarthy Reflection Essay
I was lucky enough to get an internship with the nonprofit organization NSRWA over the summer of 2017, and work with their fantastic team, but spent most of my time with Dr. Sara Grady and my fellow intern Kelly Miller.
This internship gave me a little glimpse into the real world that I will soon enter into, since I am a senior at Westfield State Univeristy studying Environmental Science, Biology and Wildlife Conservation. While here, I was able to participate in horseshoe crab studies, water quality analysis, shellfish survey snorkeling, herring counts, watching the progress of a newly removed dam site, and much much more. I also was able to help with their major events such as the annual Great River Race and the first annual Striper Tournament. I had the opportunity to work a booth at Marshfield’s Levitate music festival, and Kelly and I were able to accompany Sara to a MIMIC meeting at the DCR headquarters in Boston. These events taught me that a huge part working in the environmental field is talking to people, making connections and educating the public.
One of my most memorable experiences was working on project I volunteered for because I had Arch Map and GIS experience. I was put in charge of making a map of current dam sites and removed dam locations along the south coast of Massachusetts. This map was used to educate the members and volunteers of NSRWA along with the general public about how much of our water systems are clogged up by dam sites, making it difficult for our herring populations to migrate to their native spawning grounds. This project gave me a huge insight into how dedicated a scientist must be to their work and getting that work done in a timely and efficient way.
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. I would like to thank everyone here at North and South Rivers for giving me this opportunity and I hope to become a volunteer and member in the future.
Kelly Miller- Summer 2017 Intern
As summer is coming to an end and I am preparing to head back to UMass Amherst to finish my senior year, it is sad to say goodbye to NSRWA. Every day of my summer internship has been a new learning experience, whether it was out in the field with the watershed’s ecologist Sara Grady or in the office gaining insight into the inner workings of a non-profit.
One of the most rewarding parts of my internship has been helping out with NSRWA’s outreach programs. As I am working towards a degree in Biology and Education, these programs played perfectly to my career interests. Through the Estuary Explorers program, I had the opportunity to lead groups of students out to the intertidal pools at “the Spit” in Scituate, and explore the estuarine habitats. It was rewarding to see some children began the day never having been on the North River, yet return home being able to identify invasive green crabs, Asian shore crabs, sea stars, and had an understanding of the ecology of a salt water estuary. Additionally, NSRWA partners with the South Shore YMCA to run River Adventures Camp. I met with the campers before they spend the week kayaking on the North and South rivers, in order to teach them what exactly a watershed is and why it’s important to keep ours healthy. I loved hearing the campers say they want to tell their family and friends about the importance of water conservation or the impact of storm water pollution. These experiences make me look forwards to a future in science education!
Additionally, having the opportunity to shadow Dr. Grady and learn from her vast expertise has been a wonderful experience. She has given me the tools and knowledge to conduct water quality sampling and invasive species surveys on my own, and the field work experience I gained will be a great help in my future Biology courses. Additionally, I learned that field conditions can be unpredictable; however, these dynamic conditions can create the best memories. Such as conducting a gulf shellfish survey in the pouring rain or helping pull my fellow intern, covered head to toe in mud, out of the riverbank at the Tack Factory dam removal site.
It would take all day to touch on every great experience I’ve had through my internship with the the watershed this summer, and I and I am thankful for all the opportunities I was given and the amazing people I met along the way!