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In the Field with the 2014 Conservation Interns

July 11, 2014

We recently wrapped up our second year of the Keene State College-Harris Center conservation internship program, a seven-week summer internship experience for undergraduate students in the Environmental Studies Department at Keene State College (KSC).

Under the guidance of Harris Center staff and KSC professors, interns Dan Broderick, Matt Cecchetelli, Marisa Morrison, and Tara Pratt assisted with many facets of the Harris Center’s diverse conservation and education work. Together, the students documented 11 vernal pools, surveyed 20 forest community inventory plots, pulled hundreds of invasive plants, conducted weekly monitoring of the Harris Center’s campsites on Spoonwood Pond, assisted with educational events and easement monitoring, and collected a second year of data for a wildlife road mortality study of Route 123. For this study, the students walked five transects (totaling 4 miles) along Route 123 twice weekly from May 14 through June 26, recording 1,125 road-killed animals of 20 different species.

Intern Dan Broderick inspects a road-killed frog. (photo © Bill Fleeger)

Intern Dan Broderick inspects a road-killed frog. (photo © Bill Fleeger)

The 2014 internship team conducts some impromptu trailwork. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

The 2014 internship team conducts some impromptu trailwork. (photo © Brett Amy Thelen)

This internship program is a win-win: the Harris Center acquires scientific data that we can use to better steward the lands in our care, and the students get an unparalleled, hands-on learning experience. KSC professor and project partner Dr. William Fleeger reflects:

“Working in the field alongside conservation professionals helps the students see how their classroom education applies to the conservation challenges we face every day, and how even the things that we take for granted, like roads, can have significant environmental impacts. It exposes them to the demands and possibilities of the profession that it is impossible to replicate in any other way.”

For more information on this innovative internship program, contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email.