Saturday, August 15, 2015
This internship has taught me more than I could have ever expected. Not only have I gained extremely valuable skills from hands-on field work in coastal science, I have also learned how to be a better person in general. My favorite thing about working for NH Sea Grant this summer has been the diversity of experiences I have had.
I learned about sand dune restoration – what plants are best, how to plant them, and most importantly how to involve the community.
I was also part of the planning stages of a riparian buffer restoration project for the Sagamore-Hampton golf course. My favorite part about that project was being a part of the meeting with the owner and the superintendent of the golf course. It showed that restoration projects require clear communication between the people implementing the restoration and those who own/have the most knowledge about the use of the property. It was cool to be a part of a unique project that can serve as a model for other golf courses in the area that want to reduce their impact on the Great Bay Estuary.
The eel monitoring project and Lubberland Creek baseline fish survey with the Coastal Research Volunteers was very eye-opening for me. It provided me with practice in collecting field data, but also with teaching others how to collect data too. It was inspiring to meet these volunteers - people who care deeply about the natural world and take time out of their day to contribute to local research. More proof that science couldn’t happen without the cooperation of people.
One of the best parts of this internship was the experience of working under Alyson Eberhardt and having Myrilla Hartkopf as my partner. Alyson showed me how to be a more organized person and to give my attention and effort to the task at hand no matter how many other things are going on. She always kept us on our toes and challenged us to try new things, and this helped us grow as aspiring scientists and citizens. I have never worked as closely with a coworker as I did with Myrilla. We were partners for every project and task that Alyson gave us, and as someone used to working on things alone this helped me become a better team member and coworker. If problems came up, Myrilla and I were able to trouble-shoot them together instead of always having to ask Alyson for help.
Walking away from this internship and into my final year as an undergraduate at UNH, I am more prepared and aware to enter the world outside of college. The connections and friendships I have made through this internship serve as a support system for me as I continue my journey. The experience and skill I have gained in coastal research and citizen science empower me to help with related projects in the Seacoast area and other places in the world.
Thank you NH Sea Grant and those who support them, it has been an amazing summer.