Monday, June 22, 2009

Adventures in Acadia

Hello Unity, and all friends of Unity! I dearly miss life at the college, but it is only a few more weeks and in the meantime I am keeping busy with an amazing internship at the Schoodic Education and Research Center. SERC is located on Schoodic Point in Acadia National Park. My official job title is Science Communications Intern, which means that I (and my roommate/fellow intern) am responsible for making advances in science at the park accessible to the general public. Once I week I go out in the field with reasearchers or park employees and learn about the ways that Acadia is keeping abreast of innovative science and its practical applications. I then write a research or program brief for the National Park Service, as well as at least one weekly blog describing my experience in Acadia. It is a wonderful opportunity, especially since the degree that I'm working towards is in Environmental Writing and in my experience so far writing internships and jobs are not exactly easy to find. So I feel very blessed to have this chance, and very grateful that I responded (on a whim) to the email I received via Unity alerting students of the position. Life is sublimely serendipitous at times. I have never had a particularly strong science background, so sometimes writing about it is somewhat challenging, but I am delighted at how fascinating the research going on here has been so far. My first day of fieldwork entailed working with the invasive plants crew at park headquarters on Mount Desert Island. That was an exciting day; tackling the noxious invasive Giant Hogweed, a nasty plant capable of inflicting severe blistering and burns of human skin through its sap. My second week I went out marsh coring, a method of research I had never heard of before. However I quickly discovered that it is an invaluable tool for measuring carbon sequestration in marshes, a topic that is directly applicable to climate change. Unfortunately my fieldwork this week was rained out but I'll soon be working on a brief about Acadia's peregrine falcon program. In the course of these 10 weeks on the Maine coast I hope to become a better writer, a better scientist, and increase my awareness of the intriguing possibilities of my native state. Despite growing up in Maine I've never really experienced the coast and it is tremendously exciting (although a little lonely at times) to live here for a summer. If you would like to check out my official internship blog through the park service, check out I will check back in as further developments unfold. Missing Unity every day!

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