Over the summer of 2018, Scott Campbell interned at the Mianus River Gorge in Bedford, NY. Before the junior embarked on his journey, he had to do a phone interview in order to qualify for the internship. Scott found this exciting opportunity since he had hiked at the Mianus River Gorge before and noticed that they were looking for an intern.
There was a lot of variability in his work from day to day. The majority of the time he worked outside on several projects including the weeding of invasive plant species, general trail maintenance, assisting graduate students with their projects, and monitoring Hemlock trees. “One time we went to the park areas around New York City to collect camera trap data on coyotes! We also monitored camera trap data from cameras all over West Chester County. The carnivores found on these camera traps were of the most importance to the staff” explains Scott.
The junior’s favorite aspect of the experience was his project on deer enclosure fences. The fences were set up along the trails to show the disparity in vegetation growth between areas with or without deer. However, one problem with the fences was that the holes in them were big enough to allow rodents to eat the vegetation. For his project, the junior cut several larger holes in these fences hoping that coyotes, bobcats, or foxes which eat the rodents would go through the holes into the enclosed area. Camera traps were set up inside the enclosure near the holes to see which animals went through and scent lures were placed by the holes to attract carnivores. “Collecting the data and adjusting the lures were very interesting processes and I enjoyed the field work. I found that a lot of raccoons went through the holes and a couples of foxes as well. Although coyotes and bobcats were caught on camera, neither went through the hole” adds Scott. The most challenging parts of the internship were the use of the GIS, the measurement of vegetation plots, and the weather.
Critical thinking and working quickly were the two skills that Scott utilized at his internship. The junior feels that this experience provided him with new skills and improvement upon old ones. Working at Mianus River Gorge improved his critical thinking skill and he learned a new skill on how to better identify invasive plant species. Since this internship involved a lot of hands on field work, Scott says that this would help him in a future career. He would like to have a job outside in nature with wildlife conservation.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
“The two staff scientists, Mr. Veverka and Dr. Nagy, interacted and guided us throughout the internship. They recounted their experiences on the field and gave advice for the future” states the junior. Scott would consider listing them as references and he is glad that he got to meet them.
The junior feels more prepared to work outside and do fieldwork. The internship experience affected him personally since it confirmed his interest in this type of career. Scott also believes he gained more independence when it came to his responsibilities towards the end of the internship. After his time at Ursinus, the junior plans on going to graduate school to get a Master’s degree.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The coolest part of the experience was when he went bird banding with a nearby Audubon society and he got to catch and handle birds. It was a very unique experience according to the junior.
Scott suggests interning somewhere you know will provide you with a good experience. Also, interning at a place that is related to what you are interested in goes a long way in how enjoyable the internship will be. Finally, the junior would absolutely recommend this internship to anyone with an interest in working outside.
Written by Faraha Rathod, UC ’19