Hello and welcome to my first intern blog! It certainly has been a different experience interning during a global pandemic. But although the available work has been somewhat limited, I have been finding creative ways to really make the most of every hour at the Boone County Conservation District. Over the last few months, I have been working closely with Susan on educational programs, such as the monarch-tagging we did at England Idlewild Park and the birding program at Boone Conservancy. Preparing materials and helping to plan these events has given me very useful experience as an environmental educator. Susan has also been a great mentor and has taught me so much already! We have a few more events coming up before the end of my semester that I am really looking forward to. I am especially excited for the night hike on November 6th, where I will have the chance to lead my own group.
On my own time, I have been working on an independent project for a nature story trail at Giles Conrad Park. This will consist of signs along the walking trails with fun activities to get kids connected to nature. I am still very much in the planning stages, and currently working on a proposal to send to the Boone County Parks department, but I am hopeful that it will be a good start to a project that I will get to see the results of in the near future.
Lastly, one very exciting project I was able to participate in recently was an environmental DNA study at Gunpowder Creek. To do this, we collected stream water in bottles to be sent off to the lab and filtered. Once filtered, they will be tested for the presence of eDNA from hellbender salamanders. It is rumored that they live in the area, and this could prove the rumors to be true, so we are all anxiously awaiting the results!
I can’t even express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. The things I have learned during my time as an intern here will be extremely useful moving forward in my career after I graduate in December. Working with BCCDKY has been a truly amazing experience and I have enjoyed every minute so far. Thanks for reading!