Category: Conservation Intern

Hello, I’m Lillie


I’m excited to be the BCCDKY Forest Health Intern for Summer ‘23. Mountains, rivers, caves, and beautiful forests are all part of the amazing state of Kentucky. From warms summer days hiking in the woods to boating on the lakes of glistening water, I appreciate all that nature shares with us. This love of nature and a desire to protect it led me to Thomas More University where I’m in my junior year pursuing a dual major in Life Science (Sustainability Concentration) and Educational Studies with minors in Environmental Science and Psychology. I hope to listen to all the environment teaches us and be a part of preserving all that is around me. 

“I believe the world is incomprehensibly

beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.” Ansel Adams

What’s happening…

  • Monday, our first day, we planted 26 native trees in an orchard project created by the junior board. Kamryn and I planted trees such as black cherry, chestnut, and persimmon.
  • Tuesday, we were CPR certified, and I learned about the bat monitoring equipment and made sure it was all set for the week. Bats are one of my favorite species, and I can’t wait to learn more about them!
  • Wednesday, we had the opportunity to hike with a great group of students on a Conservancy Field Trip and met a baby turtle and cricket frog. We hung a subsonic bat detector to listen for the echolocation of bats!
  • Thursday, super fun time with the Girl Scouts making tree crafts at Middle Creek. This brought back great memories of my time as a Scout.
  • Friday, we worked with SD1 and two NKU students at Boone Cliffs to help them collect data from the creek for their research.
  • Saturday, Community Activities Fair day! I was able to meet lots of great people and tell them about all the exciting things happening at BCCDKY!

Sarah’s Blog

Hello all! It has been a wild time working with Boone County this semester. We hit the ground running with the development of our mussel surveys in Gunpowder Creek. If you don’t know much about mussels, they are a great bio indicator and help keep our waters clean! While we snorkeled in the creek looking for our beloved mollusks, we stumbled upon a lot of cool and exciting macro invertebrates like crawfish and water pennies. Little guys like these are great to see in our waterways. We also have been having great success with our bat monitoring. Many bat species are listed as federally endangered so it’s always an exciting day when we identify them on our recording devices. Beyond our research projects, we’ve been kept busy with weekend events such as salt fest which displayed the rich history of Big Bone Lick State Park. Lastly, we welcomed our junior board and took them on a plant survey. It was great to see the enthusiasm these kids share about the environment; I can’t wait to see where they go next!

Derek’s Blog

The last two months have been amazing, despite being busy as well! From hiking in Dinsmore Woods, Conservancy Park, Middle Creek, and Boone Cliffs to Creeking for mussel surveys in Gunpowder Creek, there has certainly been no shortage of nature lately! 

While the mussel surveys yielded little results, the bat data has been phenomenal! Not only have we monitored nearly all bat species that are found in Kentucky (11/16), but we have caught all 3 federally endangered bats in Kentucky on the monitors. The Virginia big-eared bat, the Indiana bat, and the gray bat were all found at both Dinsmore Woods and Boone Cliffs. We are currently working on lots of data from the semester and preparing to teach the Junior Board some techniques for research! 

I’ve learned so much so far in this internship – from plant identification to bat and mussel research techniques, my tool belt is growing in both size and strength. I cannot wait to see what the remaining half of the internship brings! 

A Summer-y of the Internship

Welcome to my final blog post of the summer! My last day is next week on the 28th, and I can’t believe how fast time has flown. It’s crazy that this time next week I’ll be done! I got so many fun experiences in and they’ll forever be some of my best memories!

We had our second LEAF Academy and it went so well!! The kids were so kind and I got to see a bunch of kids from CKC! It was so nice to see kids stick with it for this long. I’m gonna miss goofing around with a bunch of conservationists in the making, but I’m super excited to do it again next summer!

We also have gotten SO MUCH bat stuff done!! We found proof of Indiana bats living in Boone County through our detection software which was crazy cool. That same week, we ran into a group of people mist netting for bats and invited us to join! It was so cool to see bats that up close! One of the groups that we met with to mist net even CAUGHT Indiana bats which means that our audio was right!! IDK about Jaron but I certainly feel like a celebrity now. 

I’ve learned and grown so much this summer conservation wise, and this internship really changed me for the better. While I’m gonna stick with my Music major (sorry), I’m certainly much more keen on the idea of conservation being in my future. Thanks for being with me all summer and watching me grow!

Mackenzie 🙂

Jaron’s June Blog

These past couple weeks have came and gone faster than I can wrap my head around. I have kept busy with some very exciting work regarding bats. My month started with a audio recording indicative of the presence of Indiana bats in Northern Kentucky! For those who are unaware Indiana bats are a federally endangered species. With this information we can start doing more work to protect these super special mammals that are so great for our forest’s health. I have also gotten the opportunity to be involved with some mist netting for bats with Kentucky Game and fish and Stantec, which has been a very rewarding experience. The reason they’re mist netting is in regard to some stream mitigation work happening here in Boone County. For those unaware of what mist netting is, it’s a live capture technique where large nets capture flying bats. Once captured the bats are recorded and if they’re a endangered species they are tagged with a tracker so they can find where they roost. I’ve also been able to participate In some hydromod surveys with SD1. Its been fun to work with the SD1 staff and assist them In there stream monitoring work. Along with the bat work I have been researching how to do mussel surveys in Boone County. It will not be long before we start said surveys in which I will update all yall about in my last blog. I am loving this internship and wishing I could slow down time to keep this summer from ending.  

– Jaron

Lots of Work in June

Hello all and welcome back to my blog!

Lots of crazy stuff has been happening since my last blog! We just finished week one of Leaf Academy, and it was a fun week with the kids and my coworkers! We hiked at Boone Cliffs, kayaked at Boone’s Landing, swam at the Sperti Park creek, and did a bunch at Middle Creek! It was a jam packed week but it was super fun! Now to prepare for academy week in July!

This internship has taught me SO much since starting. I’ve learned so much new information on the environment, watersheds, habitats in creeks, and so much more. We did a mussel lecture last night and it was so interesting, plus I got to meet so many new people and make some new connections! We got a tour of Thomas More Field Station too, which was insane! It was so large and they’re doing so many cool projects. 

I’ve really been breaking out of my shell since working here and I’m excited to see all that’s in store with July quickly approaching. It’s time to do Leaf #2 and work on my final project, and then it’s the home stretch! Stay tuned to read more about life at BCCD and my super cool and awesome final project. 


Gaining My Footing at BCCD

Hello all to the chaos that is my first blog post! I’ve been working at BCCD for about a month now and it’s been the most fun I’ve had in a super long time! I’ve gotten to experience a bunch of new stuff and gone on a bunch of adventures. I’ve been outside more since May than I did probably the entirety of 2021 (please judge.) I am the conservation education intern so I’ve been helping a LOT with the camps we do! (This includes researching Lewis and Clark for 4+ hours, it was worth it though.) We’ve done Conservation Kids Camp and Leaf Academy and I’ve been the ‘manager’ of the crafts we’ve done in the office I like to think, haha! It’s super fun to watch the kids learn new things about nature, and sometimes I’m learning along with them!

Follow along with my blog to watch the journey of this Music Education major learn about nature.

– Mackenzie Clere

Jaron’s First Blog

Hello Boone County! Welcome to my very first summer intern blog. My name is Jaron Cooper I am currently Boone County Conservation District’s (BCCD) forest health intern. A little bit about me: I am a sophomore at Eastern Kentucky University studying Wildlife Management. I was born and raised in Boone County and am so grateful for this internship experience not only for the fact that I am getting priceless experience in the field but also just as exciting is the fact that I get to give back to my community that I have gotten so much from. 

My first couple of weeks at BCCD have been focused on the Conservation Kids camp and getting my toes wet with the ultrasonic wildlife recording of bats in Boone County. Conservation Kids camp is always a great experience, getting to see the kids get excited about conservation is always inspiring. The theme for camp this year was the Lewis and Clark expedition, the children got to learn about the animals and plants that the expedition had experiences with on the journey. Learning how to work the bat boxes which are specialized microphones to record bats is a process I am finding very enjoyable. 

I am looking forward to the rest of my summer with BCCD and the projects to come! Stay in touch as I will be writing a couple more blog posts before the summer is over.

Stephanie’s August 2021 Blog

Hello all! This summer has gone by so fast, it is hard to believe that this will be my last blog post!

Though my internship will be ending in a few weeks, I have still been busy here at BCCDKY! Recently I have completed my independent research project regarding the bat species present within Boone County. Using stationary audio data collection methods, I have confirmed the presence of four bat species at Boone Cliffs Nature Preserve, four bat species at Dinsmore State Nature Preserve, and two bat species at Conservancy Park Belleview! It has been super cool to see the biodiversity present in these parks! If you’re interested in learning more about my results and what other research projects BCCDKY has conducted, check on the Student Research page underneath the Education Programs tab. Additionally, if you would like to see what bats are in your area, BCCDKY has Echo Meter Touches that you can rent out and attach to your iPhone in order to see what bat species are living near you!

While I have done many exciting things this summer, my internship will sadly come to a close next week. After my internship I will be returning to Miami University in order to complete my Master of Environmental Science. Upon graduating with my Masters degree in May of 2022 I will be searching for a job regarding conservation! I am so glad to have been able to intern here at BCCDKY. Working with BCCDKY has been amazing this summer and I could not have asked for a better summer internship. I have learned so much and have been able to grow as a student and a professional as well. I will forever be grateful for the time I’ve got to spend here at BCCDKY and for all the wonderful people I have met this summer. I would like to give a special thanks to Susan, Mark and Pavla for the knowledge they have bestowed upon me, the entertainment they have provided, and for just making my summer the best one yet! I would also like to thank the wonderful citizens of Boone County for allowing me to work and grow within your beautiful county. Lastly, I would like to thank any of you who have read my blogs throughout this summer.


Best Wishes,

Stephanie Spence

Kathleen’s August 2021 Blog

Hi all! I cannot believe that it is already August or that this will be my last blog post. It saddens me that this summer flew by so quickly, and I wish this internship was not coming to an end already!

Our summer programs have been winding down since LEAF Academy ended, so I’ve had time to finalize my independent project. I created a lesson plan on specific flower-pollinator relationships that teaches students what adaptations plants have to attract different types of pollinators. It’s exciting to see students explore less popular pollinators like birds, bats, and flies. I was able to put this lesson plan in action by running a program at Conservancy Park, which was an exciting and gratifying conclusion to my time as BCCDKY’s Education Conservation Intern. I’ve been really fortunate to have Susan as a mentor, and she’s taught me so much about environmental education this summer.

We’ve continued to work with SD1 on hydromodification assessments and stream monitoring, as well as assisting with bird research using our Song Meter. From wildlife monitoring to education programs, I’ve had countless valuable (and fun!) experiences during this summer. In a few weeks, I will be returning to Loyola University Chicago to finish my undergraduate degree. I will be graduating with a B.S. in Environmental Science in May 2022, and I’m eager to find other opportunities in environmental education after that. This internship exceeded any expectations I had, and I am grateful to everyone at BCCDKY and at all the organizations and agencies we’ve worked with this summer – thank you!

Thanks for reading!
Kathleen Reilly