Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A French Holiday

I didn't have a crazy cool summer internship doing research or playing with fish in Florida but I did get to experience the Atlantic Ocean from above for the first time. In July I flew to Paris, France to live with a relative for a month and it was the most amazing experience.
 I started off my journey in two states I had never visited, New York and New Jersey. I flew into Ithaca, NY to visit Cornell University where I got to talk to REU students and get a feel for the program while exploring the gorgeous campus. Afterwards I drove to Belmar, NJ, a beach town with lots of personality and fun and friendly locals. A quick flight to Boston, MA to visit some relatives and then I was Paris bound. My journey had a rough start as day 3 in France brought with it a 3am trip to the ER to have my appendix removed but I was out of the hospital by day 4 and ready to explore the city. I saw some amazing monuments and museums with some of my favorites being the Musee Marmottan, Arc de Triomphe, Tour Eiffel, and the Jardin des Plantes.

On the weekends we traveled out of the city to Giverny, Chartres, and the Loire Valley. In Giverny I got to see the famous water lily garden of Claude Monet and it was every bit as beautiful as I imagined.

Chartres brought with it a gorgeous cathedral and a French history lesson while the Loire Valley took me to the center of wine country.

Between touring immense chateaus and vineyards, we managed to sneak in a hot air balloon ride, one of my absolute favorite experiences of the trip.

It was an unforgettable experience and I loved every minute of it (except maybe being stuck in a French ER with no knowledge of French). I hope to make more incredible memories this summer which hopefully involve a trip to the field to do some research!

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Summer by the Sea

From June to August this year, I had the distinct opportunity to intern at the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant's Skidaway campus in my hometown of Savannah, Georgia. This was a great way for me to get experience in the marine science community.
The majority of my work was spent with the Stormwater program. This involved locating and assessing over 200 low-impact development (LID) sites in the coastal Georgia area. Such sites consist of instrastructure in which water run-off and rainwater is collected, filtered of pollutants, and held in storage via natural means. Some common examples include, green roofs, permeable pavement, and rain gardens.

 On a daily basis, I planned out which sites were in close enough proximity that it would strategic to visit that day using a GIS viewer (global information system), which is essentially a map overlaid with points representing each site. A typical work day consisted of 8-12 sites. Upon arrival, I would talk to the property owner and explain what work I was doing if it was on private land or begin my assessment if on public land. When in the field, I carried around an iPad which I used to fill out the essential information about the sites, which consisted of: pictures of the practice, general information, dimensions of the site or any in-flow/out-flow pipes, and the overall effectiveness.

In addition to field work, I also worked at the Marine Education Center and Aquarium one or two days per week. I usually spent part of the day processing the information from field work, but I oftentimes had the opportunity to help take care of the touch tanks available to visitors. This provided me with animal care and aquarium maintenance experience. I got to interact with critters such as horseshoe crabs, whelks, and blue crabs! Additionally, I was able to go on two trawls on research vessels from the center. For this, nets were dragged in the estuary adjacent to Skidaway Island so that summer campers could see fish found in our local waters.

My internship this past summer was an experience I will never forget. It allowed me to get a feel for what it is like to work in the field of marine science both in the field and in the office. But most importantly, it showed me how much of an impact any one person can have on conserving the world’s most precious resource, the oceans.