Thursday, June 25, 2015

Check this out!

It is finally summer again and I am doing a lot of exploring. As an environmental enthusiast, I went to see the environments of different cities myself. I wanted to compare the quality of air and I ended up in Florida admiring the palm trees and the cleaner waters. I talked with my friend who works at a legal management consulting firm that does legal sourcing. To be honest, I find this summer to be very special. After a year of navigating my way through college and expanding my interests and knowledge about environmental science, I decided to travel to the beautiful state of Florida with its sun-kissed oranges, flowing palm trees, lovely lakes and ocean, and strong heat. Florida is such a warm and passionate state. I found, through my time here, that many people are basketball lovers often rooting for 'Miami Heat' basketball team. People in Miami would take out their pots and pans to bang around whenever their Miami Heat team wins a basketball game. I found this love of their basketball team amazing because nobody ever did the same for the New York Knicks when they won games. I guess their team is really good and is worth rooting for. However, my summer is not wrapped around sports or enjoying the heat. I decided earlier on that I will be spending my summer doing research about coral in an aquarium which is basically diving into a subject I love; this work that I am doing will remains a unique experience I will never forget. I am truly thankful for my high school teacher, Ms. Maggio, for fostering interest in this field. Before her, I would have never thought to be an environmental enthusiast. I viewed the environment in a different light after taking her environmental science class which . Never before did I know that the environment can be so gentle yet harsh, so malleable and changeable by man, and so mysterious. I was intrigued...enraptured...passionate about such a subject. So because I love the environment, I would like to give you some friendly reminders as to how to make this world a more sustainable place. 
1) Recycle your paper, cans, trash!!! 2) Reduce use of aerosols 3) Do not litter anywhere! Please sort everything in their appropriate bins. Anything thrown away can end up in the river and oceans that would hurt our animals and might end up in our own drinks! (That's right! I am an animal lover too)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

26: Our Last Day in Wisconsin

When we woke up, we were shocked that we were leaving today. We had breakfast and Jerry came to take all the kitchen tools and towels. We loaded the car with our luggage and drove to the airport. When we checked in, we saw cheese hats and took some pictures wearing them; they even had cheese ties! When it was time to board, Marissa was nowhere to be seen and we got really worried that we'll miss the flight (we almost boarded without her...). Luckily, she got back in time. Turned out she was getting a sandwich. It was a pretty short flight and we were actually home! We were really excited to see our family, but we had to say our goodbyes. It has been a great month together and the best experience ever to work with and learn so much from many wonderful people . Bye! :D

Day 25: Day to Play!

Today was our last day of work!! We started off with some more Eurasian watermilfoil pulling with some new divers. We took the pontoon and a few canoes out onto Lulu Lake while the divers did their jobs. Tim, Spencer, and even Jerry snorkled!! We spent a great half day on the lake. For lunch, we returned to the cabin to have pizza. We also had a surprise for Marissa, Jerry, Sarah, Pat, and Debbie for all the effort they put into our summer experience. The night before, after Marissa went to bed early, we stayed up to bake a cake. Two weeks before, Joan and Lucinda had to buy some missing ingredients for a recipe at Piggly Wigglys and they took the chance to buy the mix and frosting. Despite staying up til two, we made an awesome cake!! We had the cake for lunch and returned to the office to get ready for the state fair! At the office, we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed to the fair. We had planned to arrive by four to get a discount on entrance tickets, but we missed it by only one minute! At the fair, we met up with the local interns and headed straight for the rides. We only went on a few until we got hungry and left Spin City, the area for rides, for some food. Marissa decided to let us have some time alone and hang out at the dueling pianos. The rest of us bought food and it was delicious, especially the fresh fruit smoothies. After food, we returned to spin city and used up the rest of our tickets. Some of us won some stuffed animals! The people working at the booths were super nice. However, by the time we were done with rides and games, it was nearly ten and all the little shops were closing. We didn't even get to buy cheese or souvenirs! It was time to go and we said our goodbyes and hugged all the local interns and headed home. It was pretty hectic, but we had a great time at the fair. When we got home, we were exhausted and went straight to bed. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 24: The Experiment

Today is our second day working with Tim Gerber, this time working on his experiment. We helped prepare his control and experimental group for the Eurasian watermilfoil growth suppression. What Tim wants to do is figure out whether putting a biodegradable mesh on top of harvested milfoil will suppress future growth. In the greenhouse, he grew milfoil in ten buckets. Spencer helped Tim harvest the milfoil in the containers. Tim collected the milfoil and will dry and weigh them at the university. This will allow him to compare future growth in control and experimental groups. We randomly chose five buckets to act as the experimental group and placed mesh on the sediment. Rebecca and Emily helped to cut the mesh to fit into containers that Tim had in the greenhouse for his experiment. 

Tim hypothesizes that putting the mesh on harvested milfoil will suppress future growth. He is also trying to recreate the experiment on a larger scale in Lulu Lake. On half of the space that we cleared yesterday, we will put a frame with mesh weaved in it. The other half we will leave clear to act as the control group. Ellen, Lucinda, and Joan helped make a frame by overlapping four wooden thin planks.

We used an additional plank to create a triangle diagonally to reduce shifting. We secured the frame with degradable rope that will allow the entire frame to break down by the end of the growing season. It will be put into the water tomorrow. 

After we finished, there was still time until lunch and we helped to identify some mussels that Sarah had in her office. We then went to Lulu Lake and talked with some of the divers that came by to visit and placed the frame covered mesh in the garage.

After lunch, we went to go visit the Meyer preserve for the first time- surprisingly it had less invasive species than expected. The view was beautiful and the trees brought great shade. We went hiking through the mini forest while we pulled any invasive species we saw. We saw a lot of Japanese parsley and thistle in the prairie. We also got to see a bluebird's nest and the male bluebird feeding the chicks!

Marissa got into her thistle hunting mode again and was very far away from us. It was a bit hard to see the thistle because the small ones blended in the the other purple flowers. The only difference is that thistle pricks you- they are not our friends. 

We got a lot done today, but we had to finish making our journal videos. We got great takes at the Meyer Preserve. When we got home we began to pack our bags and the kitchen materials. It's sad seeing all of our stuff get put away. It reminds us that we are only two days away from going home to New York. The house feels so empty now.

We wrote our final journal entries and Marissa collected them all. We also went through our final evaluation and found that we are still improving as interns. We also completed our videos to hand in at the end of our internship. It's been a good experience and a long day. Now to spend the last couple days having fun and saying our good byes.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 23: Canoeing on Lulu Lake

Today, all of us woke up and together made a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and bacon. We then quickly got ready and left to go to work, but the local interns left the house without us.

When we got to Lulu Lake, we met up with Tim Gerber from University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. He has worked with Leaf interns the past 2 summers, this summer being his 3rd. Today, we worked with him and the divers to remove the Eurasian watermilfoil from Lulu Lake.

 The interns, Joan, and Rebecca chatting while we waited for the divers. 

We also got to work with Hannah today from the Madison office. Hannah got stuck in the canoe when we rowed out to the lake. 

She told us she was going to be here today when we visited and we were super excited to work with her. The divers and reporters were on the pontoon, and all the interns, Marissa, and Sarah were using canoes to collect all the milfoil the divers collected. 

There were also some who snorkeled: Tim and Hanna. Tim explained to us that it's really important to collect these pieces because like many other aquatic plants, just a tiny floating piece can connect to the soil and start growing again. 

It was the first time we went canoeing for most of us and we were really excited. We grouped up and had three to a canoe. It took a while for Rebecca and Emily to get the canoe going in the right direction. When we did get it, we had lots of fun canoeing and touring Lulu Lake. It was a little confusing and frustrating to row the canoe to the right area and pick up the floating pieces of Milfoil though. 

 Kelly, Lucinda, and Ellen are on the same canoe while Emily, Rebecca, and Catherine are on one. They linked their canoes together!

During lunch, we ate with some TNC donors and got to talk to them about what we are doing for LEAF. We also celebrated 2 birthdays today - Joan's and Catherine's! Both of them turned 17 today and we all celebrated by eating Ellen's homemade chocolate cake. We all loved it, Ellen!!

After lunch, we got back on the water and continued to collect the milfoil. Catherine, Ellen, and Emily went into the water and helped the divers collect wads of milfoil and helped us grab floating pieces of the milfoil. We all had a lot fun driving the canoes and helping out!

Divers getting back into the water!

 Emily, Catherine, and Ellen jumped right into the water.

 Ellen and Sarah learning some things about milfoil.

Here's Lucinda and her bucket of milfoil. That's only one of many!

Heading back to the dock.

Weed pit!!

After work, we decided to catch up on work that we needed to get done.

We then ate a dinner full of leftovers from the potluck - it still tasted delicious! After dinner, we watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail and a creepy episode of Doctor Who. It was so scary that Rebecca took one of the sleeping bags and slept in Lucinda's and Joan's room.