Welcome back to part two of my BCCDKY internship blog! I know everyone is looking forward to a nice few days off for the holidays, so I’ll keep things brief and hop straight into what I’ve been doing around here.
In my last post, I mentioned that I would be helping with an animal tracking course for a group of girl scouts. We ended up hosting 14 girls and a few parents. The girls were able to see some tracks in the mud, find various bugs under some logs, identify interesting plants, and learned how to use binoculars. Everyone had a blast, but I can safely say that hiking around with over a dozen young girls ensures you will sleep great that night. The event was so successful, we actually ran the program for a second time for the general public and served an additional 18 people including some Cub Scouts from Campbell County.
Toward the beginning of December, I slowed down here to focus on my final exams at school (scary, but I survived). As soon as those were done, I was summoned to my first board meeting. I’ll admit that I was nervous to introduce myself in front of the people that decide my fate here, but everyone was genuinely happy to have me on board and were even more interested in what I have been learning and doing. It helped that the board meeting doubled as the office holiday party – delicious tacos put everyone in a better mood. All the board members here are great and truly care about what we are trying to accomplish. Everyone here – staff, board members, volunteers – makes it obvious that they care about the environment and doing our part to make things better.
The last big project that I have been involved in came just earlier this week. According to Mark (BCCDKY’s longest-tenured staff member), it was also one of the funniest things he has witnessed. As part of an ongoing project, Mark and I went out to a large property (305 acres) with a few members of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife to survey streams on the property for possible mitigation efforts. To do this, we hiked the entirety of the stream system and scored each section. This job took hours, but it was a lot of fun to get out into the woods and just hike to see what was around. However, almost as soon as we got there, I found myself in a literal sticky situation. Mark will be glad to share the details if you ask him, but I’ll simply say that this silly intern got himself stuck in a wetland and had to wait for Mark to stop laughing to come rescue me. I looked like a giant mud ball the rest of the day. It was very much a rookie moment for me, but I have since learned that getting stuck in the mud is a bit of a rite of passage in this line of work. So I’m sure the sound of Mark and the Fish and Wildlife guys laughing was just them welcoming me to the club.
The rest of my time here has been split between a variety of things to help with my learning. I have helped prepare educational material, done rapid stability assessments of streams with SD1, worked with Boone County Parks to remove some invasive honeysuckle, and continued my wilderness first aid training. I am doing something new and useful almost every day I come in to work. With the holidays upon us, I don’t have much information on what to expect in the next few weeks, but I am sure there is more mud in which to get stuck. Also, be on the lookout for a post about my internship project coming shortly after the new year! In the meantime, I sincerely hope that you all have a wonderful holiday season in whichever way you choose to spend it. And here is to a happy, healthy, and successful 2019 for everyone!