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A Student of Water Quality

July 29th, 2019

Hanna Rush, a member of the 2015 inaugural class of the Watershed Academy for High School Students and front desk volunteer in 2017, returned this summer to work as a science intern who helped study the quality of local waterways.

A senior at the University of Washington in Seattle, Hanna said this summer’s experience added a new dimension to the forestry studies she’s done in school where she is majoring in environmental science.

“This was a whole new territory for me; there was a lot of learning involved on how to take samples and do the testing back in the lab,” she said.

She split her time each week monitoring water quality at about ten stream locations and running the samples in the Watershed’s lab. On stream days, she took water samples to test the amount of dissolved oxygen and nutrients, including nitrates, chloride and phosphates. She also gathered macroinvertebrates and bacterial samples to test later in the lab.

On lab days, she ran bacterial samples to determine how much coliform and E.coli was present in the stream samples. She also sorted and identified macros from each location.

Hanna said she thoroughly enjoyed spending time outside and learning new skills and ways of applying her interest in science. “Now I can take all that with me into school work and into my career, wherever that will take me.”

As a summer intern, Hanna said she was able to reconnect with the Watershed staff and people she met while volunteering here.

“I love doing field work and wanted to be working outside this summer,” she said. “I thought that doing the water quality testing would be a great way to add to the existing data set and support protection of water in New Jersey.”

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